Puffs | Theatre Review
When I was in New York City I decided to get tickets to see an Off-Broadway show called Puffs!
Puffs is a play set a ‘certain school of magic and magic’ made famous by a ‘boy wizard who lived’. The play focuses on Wayne.
Wayne is an American orphan who never knew his parents were British or wizards. He receives a letter to go to this ‘certain magical school’ and we’re whisked away to the sorting ceremony.
There are four houses you can be sorted into:
- Braves (Gryffindor)
- Smarts (Ravenclaw)
- Snakes (Slytherin)
- Puffs (Hufflepuffs)
No one thinks Puffs are worth anything, but Wayne doesn’t know this. Instead, he makes it his life’s ambition to get Puffs to win the House Cup! Or to come second. Or Third. #ThirdOrNothing.
But at every turn, there’s this ‘certain boy wizard’ called Harry who keeps ruining his chances.
The play is very funny in places and is a Harry Potter’s fans dream fanfiction, but is very much appears to be a fanfiction.
Wayne befriends two other Puffs – Oliver, who is muggle-born and is incredibly smart in the muggle-world but not-so-smart in the wizarding world which frustrates him – and Megan, the daughter of an ‘evil witch’ currently residing in Azkaban who dreams of being as seen as evil as her and hates the fact that she is a Puff.
Wayne is effectively the Harry Potter of the Puffs world.
His uncle dies – like Sirius – he is good friends with Cedric (basically his God) who dies in the fourth year after promising to teach him everything he knows, and his best friends get together, like Ron and Hermione.
The portrayal of characters like Harry and Ginny are very funny. Harry is kind of this vacant student who just happens to have all of these things happen to him. Ginny is this romantic femme fatale who Wayne lusts after. Dumbledore changes character in the third year – ‘hey guys, does Dumbledore look different you this year?’
There is a lot of references to both the books and the films – my favourite being Dumbledore shouting at Harry: ‘Did you put your name in that goblet?!?! … I’m the definition of calm’ in reference to the movie and books very different interpretations of ‘calmly’.
The other character portrayals were interesting too.
Justin Finch Fletchy is a camp as camp can be. Snape is portrayed by someone trying their best to do an Alan Rickman impression with hilarious results. Professor Sprout gives out points for love because ‘the plants love love’ and Leanne who can’t stand on one-leg but can do an impressive Jackie Chan routine with wands when the Battle of Hogwarts begins.
The funniest moment goes to what I think can only have been an improv moment when one of the characters – a Quidditch coach – comes on talking about his mother Ashleigh who apparently hides in the room wherever he is and dresses him in the morning. It’s so stupid and loses a lot in context but in the scene was hilarious for being so utterly ridiculous. The cast were in stitches too, which makes me think it was improvised.
And when the Quidditch captain shows up during the Battle of Hogwarts screaming ‘Motherfucker!’ it was a very enjoyable moment.
All in this play involves a lot of door-slamming, a lot of silly one-liners and some fairly ridiculous plotting.
But fans of Harry Potter will enjoy it. And luckily it’s been filmed! You don’t have to go all the way to New York to watch it. Instead, you can rent or download it via Amazon Video or Apple.