Entertainment » Theatre

Puffs, Or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic

by Daniel Neiden
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Jul 20, 2017
Puffs, Or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic

I got invited back to re-review Matt Cox's comedy, "Puffs, Or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic" in its snazzy new confines (yes, they've even added the spiders!) at New World Stages and wondered how his team would top the excellent atmospheric experience they had created at The Elektra on 43rd Street.

And top it, they have! This is one of those plays that has truly come into its own, and "Puffs" is not just a hit, it's now a long-running hit. The cast exudes it, and the production projects it.

For the un-sorted, and with thanks to a fantastic press release, "For seven years a certain boy wizard went to Wizard School. This, however, is not his story. This is the story of The Puffs... who just happened to be there, too. This is a play for anyone who has never been destined to save the world.

"Puffs, Or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic" is a Potter-inspired comedy for anyone who has ever felt like a secondary character in someone else's story. The play gives you a new look at a familiar adventure from the perspective of three new heroes just trying to make it through magic school."

Well said, indeed. It's exciting to find your seat and have a smile spread across your face because you see a set predominantly made of four very solidly crafted doors, and you know they're gonna slam a lot, and you literally can't wait. It's clear now that "Puffs" was never a parody but, rather, an affectionate, razor-witted response to one mother-behemoth of a franchise.

It's fair to say that it started as something to absolutely target, thrill, and nourish Potter fans, but I brought three friends, one of whom sheepishly admitted he never read the books nor had he seen "most of the films," and he substantiated that you will absolutely laugh your Azkaban off!

Stephen Stout continues to amaze with his cripplingly funny imitation of "Snape"; the cohesively excellent Langston Belton, Julie Ann Earls, and Zac Moon are New York's best threesome (!) that give "Puffs" its ample heart. As Cedric Diggory, James Fouhey has blossomed even farther into a shirtless hunk/nerd the audience craves; and you have to wonder what large Gringotts vault is vast enough to contain all those scenes that the highly carbonated Madeleine Bundy steals at each performance.

Having said that, Puffs biggest asset is the entire twelve-member ensemble, a gilded Pandora's comedy jack-in-the-box of solid performers as good as the best of any Broadway season. They revel in each other's agility to the point of almost cracking up at one another's comic sincerity.

Please forgive me as I quote myself, but my initial review stated "Overall, this merry cast of twelve repeatedly enchants us, broadcasting a true pride in ownership that only hit shows have." Right now, I feel like a true Wizard because I called it (along with everyone else who reviewed it). "Puffs" is indeed, a hit show.

"Puffs, Or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic" enjoys an extended run at New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10019. For tickets or information, call 212-239-6200 or visit www.PuffsthePlay.com

Daniel Neiden is a writer and composer who develops socially conscious theater projects.


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