Bloomberg the Company & Products

Bloomberg Anywhere Login


Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.


Financial Products

Enterprise Products


Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000


Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Kathleen Turner’s Swearing Nun Helps ‘High’ Hustler: Review

Don't Miss Out —
Follow us on:
Stephen Kunken and Kathleen Turner in "High" in New York. The play is directed by Rob Ruggiero. Photographer: Joan Marcus/Boneau/Bryan-Brown via Bloomberg

April 20 (Bloomberg) -- A recovering alcoholic nun in mufti, Sister Jamison talks tough, swears a lot and can out-wrestle anyone foolish enough to take her on.

As played by Kathleen Turner on Broadway in “High,” she could be country kin to the femmes fatales she played in noir films like “Body Heat” and “Prizzi’s Honor.”

When Father Delpapp consigns a crank-addled gay hustler to her care, Sister Jamison is suspicious. She’s the go-to counselor for tough cases at the suburban rehab center the priest runs. But those cases tend to be 19th-hole tipplers.

When she asks her new charge, Cody Randall, what drugs he’s done, she has to stop him mid-sentence to rephrase the question: “Whoa, maybe we should list the drugs you haven’t tried.”

Each of the three characters in Matthew Lombardo’s play carries a secret that will be revealed in painful detail before the curtain falls.

None of them makes any more sense than the character of Sister Jamison herself: She talks the talk of a woman on intimate terms with street life, substance abuse and various sins of the flesh. But she recoils in horror at the unpleasant details of Cody’s history. What street was she living on, Rodeo Drive?

In front of a backdrop of stars twinkling in a midnight sky, she soliloquizes about St. Augustine, her prettier, younger, smarter sister, and the tattooed boy at the bowling alley who will change both their lives.


You don’t need to hear every word of every speech to get the gist. That’s a good thing, because diction is not one of Turner’s strong points; nor is the natural flow of language. She tends to break sentences up into actorish phrases to suggest deeper significance.

Lombardo, a recovering addict, has written an imitation of a play, and not a very good one. Kunken is petulant as Father Delpapp. Jonigkeit plays Cody with such incoherent gruffness suggesting he never gave up dope long enough even to get into the center. Under Rob Ruggiero’s overwrought direction, “High” plays more like an early workshop than a polished Broadway production.

And this is yet another show with background music, by Vincent Olivieri, that is determined to add ponderousness to every moment not already given over to it by the writing.

At the Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th St. Information: +1-239-6200; Rating: *

What the Stars Mean:
****        Excellent
***         Very Good
**          Average
*           Not So Good
(No stars)  Avoid

(Jeremy Gerard is an editor and critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer of this column: Jeremy Gerard in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at

Please upgrade your Browser

Your browser is out-of-date. Please download one of these excellent browsers:

Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera or Internet Explorer.