Review: ‘The Power of Duff’ will indeed compel you

A newscaster becomes a spiritual leader in "The Power of Duff."
A newscaster becomes a spiritual leader in “The Power of Duff.”

“The Power of Duff” won’t necessarily make you question your own faith, or compel you to seek relief in the power of prayer, but it will make you laugh out loud — and forever change the way you look at local news.

The characters in playwright Stephen Belber’s tale of an anchorman who accidentally becomes a spiritual giant are so wonderful that it’s easy to forgive that the plot bites off a bit more than it can chew. Though the thought-provoking comedy explores such weighty topics as the search for the meaning of life, familial dysfunction and God, its brilliance comes from the delightful skewering of news and newsmakers that is at its core.

The catalyst of a sudden infusion of faith into the greater Rochester area is Charles Duff, a somewhat arrogant, disengaged newsman who closes out an otherwise unremarkable newscast with a prayer the day of his father’s funeral. Much to the floundering philanderer’s surprise, his words seem to be the answer to many of the prayers of the suffering and downtrodden worldwide.

David Wilson Barnes is excellently aloof in his portrayal of Duff, doling out “uh-huhs” and lifeless stares with convincing apathy. His inner circle — co-anchor Sue Raspell (Jennifer Westfeldt), ex-wife Lisa (Amy Pietz), son Ricky (Noah Galvin) and co-workers John Ebbs (Brendan Griffin) and Scott Zoellner (Ben Cole) — are equally adept at portraying their individual struggles to navigate his ever-shifting perspective.

The real joy of “Duff,” however, is in the performances of Russell G. Jones and Joe Paulik. Jones’ touching turn as Joseph Andango gives the show its much-needed heart, while Paulik nearly steals the show in multiple roles, including an overly enthusiastic field reporter and a slimy Google executive.

“Duff” may not be the answer to your every theatrical prayer, but this incredible ensemble will keep you happy, hopeful and entertained while you wait.

“The Power of Duff”
Through Nov. 9
BCA Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont St., Boston
Starting at $25
617-266-0800
huntingtontheatre.org



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Federal mediator joins Met Opera labor talks as…

Unions representing the orchestra and chorus of the Met Opera agreed to have a federal mediator join labor talks on Thursday as a threatened lockout loomed.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

Movies

Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is a refreshingly…

Marvel is sitting so high on a cash mountain that it's now thrown $170 million at the relatively obscure and very silly title "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Movies

Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…