BWW Reviews: Richmond Triangle Players Presents Matthew Lomabardo's HIGH
Richmond Triangle Players' production of Matthew Lombardo's HIGH is the theatre's latest entry into the Richmond Acts of Faith Festival. Addiction takes on many forms, and we learn that, for some, getting to recovery is the easy part; it's staying there that proves to be the most difficult.
After a terrible tragedy, Cody Randall (Kyle Cornell), a glassy-eyed street hustler and drug addict, is committed to a Catholic rehabilitation facility under the counsel of Sister Jamison Connelly (Melissa Johnston Price). As much as she contends with Father Michael Delpapp (Jonathan Hardison), Sister Connelly ultimately takes on the deeply disturbing and emotionally draining case that ultimately pushes to the surface her own haunted past.
T. Ross Aiken's set design is simple and transparent. His furnishings are stationary, but three upstage windows add depth and quickly transport the characters to each distinct location. Michael Jarrett's lighting and projection design effectively highlight and complement Aiken's design.
Under George Boyd's direction, each of the performers is provided moments to shine. Boyd's spacing is especially effective in scenes where all three members of the cast are on stage.
Hardison's Father Delpapp locks away his own guilt, erupting with anger and desperation at the slightest provocation.
Kyle Cornell's Cody fuses the despair and weakness of a frantic junkie and the vulnerability of an angry and sometimes remorseful teenager.
But the standout performance belongs to Melissa Johnston Price, in a role previously owned by Kathleen Turner.
Despite Lombardo's sometimes-flabby script, which forces Sister Connelly to leave the moment and deliver an aside at the height of many scenes, Price delivers a sensational performance, slowly unpacking an incredible range of honest emotions. Her impeccable comedic timing is only outshined by the very real anguish Connelly's own skeletons reveal in the second act.
Lombardo's play about the road to redemption provides for thoughtful reflection and is more than fitting for the Acts of Faith Festival.
HIGH runs through March 15 at Richmond Triangle Players.