Jessie Cannizzaro, Zac Moon, James Fouhey,
Stephen Stout, (Back row) Madeleine Bundy, Langston Belton, Andy Miller,
Eleanor Philips (L-R) [Photo Credit: Hunter Canning]
††††††††††††††††† by Edward
owl has arrived to deliver a message to a young boy. The lucky recipient of
this owlgram has been accepted into a little known world renowned school of
magic. He is to be taken from his humdrum life and set upon a new course and
the magical adventure of his life. The catch is that this is not merry old England
and this is not the boy legend in the making Harry Potter. This is New
Mexico in the good old US of A and the boy is an awkward, and not that much of
a gifted wizard to be, named Wayne. Nonetheless, Wayne is whisked off to England
to experience Ďseven increasingly eventful years at a certain school of magic
and magicí just like the infamous Harry.
Harry does make occasional appearances in this tale this story belongs to Wayne
and all his fellow Puffs, the magical house heís sorted into for his time at
the school. This is a mirror world of the Potter books and if you donít know
them you will have some problems catching all the jokes in this very clever,
fast paced, hysterically funny farce. While elements of the books play out in
the periphery, this version is all about the Puffs and their mutual adventures
of just getting through school and dealing with all the mayhem that Harry
creates in his wake. The Puffs are endearing misfits but they know it and that
always seems to empower them forward through their mutual endeavors.
Stephen Stout, Eleanor
Philips, Madeleine Bundy, Andy Miller, Langston Belton, Zac Moon, Julie Ann
Earls, Jessie Cannizzaro, Nick Carrillo(L-R) [Photo Credit: Hunter Canning]
ensemble cast is exactly that in every sense of the word. They are frenetic
poetry in zany motion and to lose any one of these skillful cartoon treasures
would be to collapse this magical schoolís house of cards. In total the company
of thirteen players portray fifty three characters and features the talents of
Langston Belton, Madeleine Bundy, Jessie Cannizzaro, Nick Carrillo, Anna Dart,
A.J. Ditty, Julie Ann Earls, James Fouhey, Jake Keefe, Andy Miller, Zac Moon,
Eleanor Philips and Stephen Stout.
design work on this production is clever to the max with every department
delivering excellence. Madeleine Bundyís set, costume, and prop designs are at
the center of it all. Her set gives the reigning Broadway work of The Play
That Goes Wrong a run for its money. Itís backstage reverse world look and
feel serves as the visual foundation in this frenzied world. Her hodgepodge of
costumes is in all actuality a well-organized balance of quick change mastery
that fits well within the mania and lets the audience keep track of the many
characters and their houses as they fly by.
writer Matt Coxís book of secrets that drives this glorious insanity. His work
reveals a true and genuine love of the parodied Potter source material. He
provides not only comedic reverence to the proceedings but also isnít at all
afraid to skewer its revered cannon with right-on-the-mark pokes at its fabled
facade. Cox has scripted an intermissionless one hour and forty five minute
speeding magical locomotive that makes for a wild and wonderful ride.
would think that a show and a cast that moves this quickly and delivers this
many punch lines per second would be allowed to run amok to achieve those goals.
That thinking would be incorrect. Thereís a slow and steady hand at the helm of
this madness that makes it all work and it belongs to director, Kristin
McCarthy Parker. Reigning in all that creative energy and then knowing exactly
when to unleash it is no simple task and her skill is to be admired.
Windmills Theatricals and producers John Arthur Pinckard and David Carpenter
are to be commended here as well. They took great steps to protect, package,
and promote this gem of a production in such a way that allowed it to be found
by its adoring audience. They knew what they had and nurtured it wisely. Puffs
began at the Peoples Improv Theater, where it gained its first momentum, before
moving to the Elektra Theater where continued critical acclaim brought it to
its current home at Stage 5 at New World Stages.
Puffs has broken two New World Stages box
office records to date and is well on its way to break others as it repeatedly
plays to sold out houses. It is primarily word of mouth support from its loyal
and growing fan base that drives this well-deserved success. With Harry
Potter and the Cursed Child opening shortly itís easy to see how Puffs
may just become a permanent fixture on the New York theatre scene as scores of
fans flood into the city from all over the world to catch two of the hottest
wizarding tickets within reach.
West 50th Street
Playing Through Nov 4, 2018