To See or Not to See: Puffs
Puffs, Or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic is a wink-wink comedy of a certain famous story about a Wizard Who Shall Not Be Named. Just kidding. They name Harry Potter quickly in the play, so that there’s no question as to where it is taking place, even though the houses are called Snakes, Puffs, Smart, and Brave (I assume so as to emphasize both that this is emphatically not an official part of the Harry Potter canon, as well as for comedic effect).
Harry Potter is actually a side character in Puffs. The story, instead, revolves around Wayne, a regular boy from New Mexico who is shocked to learn that not only are wizards real, he’s one himself. He arrives at Hogwarts the same time Harry Potter does, and is quickly sorted into the Puffs, who are well aware of their less-than-stellar reputation in the Potter fan world, yet refuse to let the negativity get them down (at one point, they vow to be third in the House Cup, as they always come in last).
What follows is a whiplash quick series of scenes that take place over the course of all the Harry Potter books from a very different perspective. Wayne wants to be a hero, but is stymied at every turn. Luckily, he’s able to rely on his friends Oliver (a math genius who finds that his Muggle skills are no use to him at Hogwarts) and Megan (the rebellious kid of a Puff gone bad, who is in “Wiz Priz,” a.k.a. Azkaban).
The play is an enjoyable, laugh-filled ride for Potter fans. The actors all do an amazing job, especially those who inhabit multiple roles (sometimes at dizzyingly fast speeds). The only actor that showed the strain of a one-note character was Julie Ann Earls in the role of Megan. Otherwise, actors to watch included Eleanor Philips in the roles of “Hannah/Others” (those others including a fantastic McGonagall, as well as Megan’s mother, the bad Puff), Madeleine Bundy as “Susie/Others” (including a hilariously humblebrag-y Harry Potter), and Stephen Stout as “Ernie Mac/Others.”
Puffs is playing at the Elektra Theater through July 30, 2017. For tickets and more information, click here.
Photo Credit: Puffs