The Power of Duff

Drama · geffen playhouse · United States of America

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KAREN WEINSTEIN culture vulture says "bitter" · April 23, 2015
Mildly entertaining, but neither genuinely thought-provoking nor very funny, “Duff” comes closer to its dictionary definition: “a flour pudding boiled or steamed in a cloth bag.” It is probably sweet enough to eat at the end of a meal, but definitely not memorable except, perhaps, so that you avoid ordering it again.... full review

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BOB VERINI arts in la, variety, stage raw says "bitter" · April 23, 2015
So rare is it for a play to take up any issues of faith, religion, and the global community’s current crisis—let alone the journalistic ethics of using the airwaves to offer spiritual solace—that The Power of Duff might be seen as heartening in its subject matter alone. But it’s also a sad occasion, because the play isn’t very good. It’s tepid and, in key respects, shockingly retrograde.... full review

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DANY MARGOLIES arts in la says "sweet" · April 23, 2015
At its very least, this production will provide a lively and intelligent time at the theater. At its best, it will stir debate, whether among theatergoers or deep within the individual hearts and minds of its audience.... full review

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STEVEN STANLEY stagescenela says "sweet" · April 23, 2015
No matter where you stand on religion, spirituality, faith, or belief in a higher power, The Power Of Duff is powerful stuff indeed. It’s play you’ll be discussing at intermission, on the way out of the theater, and for quite some time to come. ... full review

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DASH FINELY living out loud-la says "bitter sweet" · April 23, 2015
Overall, “The Power Of Duff” is entertaining and packs a solid message. However, issues of consistency in both the writing and acting departments hamper its intended impact. Nevertheless, at the heart of the play, there is something interesting being said about the state of our society’s current obsession with “equality” at any cost.... full review

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JONAS SCHWARTZ theatermania, stage raw, arts in la says "bitter" · April 23, 2015
With religion becoming a central issue in politics today, and predictably in the coming election, the subject matter for The Power of Duff could not be more timely. Despite this, the script misses the opportunity to provide smart commentary on current events. In the end, this "Duff" lacks the power to offer anything more than limited characterizations and old clichés.... full review

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CAITLIN KILGORE neon tommy says "sweet" · April 23, 2015
This powerful and compelling play, masterfully directed by Peter DuBois, expresses the importance of human connection. It provides commentary on faith in media, while also questioning what the meaning of faith really means to the individual. Every aspect of this play is executed in a brilliant way through its direction, acting, and set design. The details and depth of this production resonate with audience members long past the curtain call. It unites viewers in the questions that it raises and through the relatable material of the human condition. ... full review

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JORDAN RIEFE the hollywood reporter says "bitter sweet" · April 23, 2015
With this reworking of his play, Belber presumably has improved it. But while it amuses and raises provocative questions, further revisions may be needed to unleash the nascent power still dormant in The Power of Duff.... full review

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SHARI BARRETT broadwayworld, culver city news says "sweet" · April 23, 2015
The play is ultimately about a person who is fundamentally ambivalent about religion, even about spirituality – who undergoes an emotional transformation, which in turn leads him to a position of being a suddenly looked-to spiritual leader even as his ambivalence continues. But what his on-air prayers do – and don’t do – to those closest to Duff tests the news anchor’s own beliefs. Can he inspire others to help each other when he has trouble doing just that in his own life? Stephen Belber’s sharp new play asks if there is anything more vital than the faith we have in ourselves and one another. ... full review

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MARGARET GRAY la times says "bitter" · April 23, 2015
The volume and interchangeability of plot developments suggest a story in search of something to say. The punchy gimmick — an anchorman who starts to pray — could conceivably be spun into a thought-provoking play, but it isn’t there yet.... full review

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