Review by Liz Eichler Of â€œPuffsâ€: Know Theatre
If you grew up with Harry Potter (Iâ€™m talking to you Gens X, Y, and Z and your parents!) then â€œPuffsâ€ at Know Theatre is a MUST SEE!
The full title of the play is â€œPUFFS or seven increasingly eventful years at a certain school of magic and magicâ€ (Two Act Edition). WrittenÂ in 2016Â by Matt Cox and enjoying aÂ 3 year award-winningÂ off-Broadway run, this production, directed by Cincinnatiâ€™s own perennial boy wizard, Andrew Hungerford, is a perfect place to bring your whole gang of friends (but not young kids).Â Thank you,Â Know,Â for such a delightful gift!Â
â€œPuffsâ€Â refers to â€œHufflepuffs,â€ the most ignored house of a certain school of magic. The students are not brave, nor smart, nor snake-y, but they are nice and caring and, well, everybody else. We focus in on Wayne, and his new friends, who witness HP bringingÂ chaos to a school, and they too want to show they are brave, or at least stay out of the way. There are some sweet moments, as the stories are replaying at breakneck speed, butÂ this retellingÂ is mostly for laughsâ€”from smiles to huge, hysterical, gut bustingÂ laughter.Â
Here are 7 increasingly persuasive reasons to conjure up a group to see this show:
1â€“All thingsÂ Harry Potter, duh
2â€“â€œItâ€™sÂ Not Butter Beerâ€Â partnership withÂ ListermannÂ Brewing for your intermission and pre-show pleasure
3â€“Fast-paced action andÂ one-linersÂ summing up chapters in a glance, from the books, movies, and the lives of the actors.Â The writing and direction make these two hours fly by as fast asÂ aÂ HolyheadÂ HarpieÂ player.Â
4â€“Dragons and dragon eggs, and a whole range of magical props includingÂ wands (!),Â aÂ 12-foot-longÂ scroll of jinxes (read them!Â â€œEating LunchÂ Alonusâ€ and more!). CostumeÂ (NoelleÂ Wedig-Johnston),Â SceneryÂ (Baron E. Pugh)Â andÂ LightingÂ (Andrew Hungerford)Â all Exceed Expectations.Â The scenery includesÂ a wonderfully painted wall (all exteriors), which opens onto a magical portrait hallÂ servingÂ as all interior spaces with the help of rolling set pieces, secret doors, and your imagination.Â
5â€“Secondary characters brought to life,Â all packedÂ into aÂ tight ensemble of talented comedic performers,Â on N.E.W.T.-Levels ofÂ Timing andÂ PhysicalÂ skills. Â Elizabeth Chinn MolloyÂ (Hannah and more)Â is aÂ contortionist of characters and comedy; she knows when an eyebrow or a leg kick works.Â JordanÂ Trovillion brings a twinkle toÂ oblivious Harry and doomed Susie Bones.Â Brianna Bernard (Sally Perks and more) providesÂ a heart-wrenching house elfÂ and more.Â Maggie Cramer (Leanne and more)Â has us empathizing withÂ the magically challengedÂ whoÂ justÂ wannaÂ have slumber parties.Â Â Andrew Ian Adams (Cedric andÂ Voldy)Â showsÂ the charisma toÂ lead a groupÂ desperate to be followers.Â JaredÂ EarlandÂ isÂ Ernie Mac,Â Second Headmaster (â€œYear 3: the headmaster looks differentâ€),Â andÂ bringsÂ many, many othersÂ toÂ life.Â MaliyahÂ Gramata-Jones as an angsty Megan Jones; Brandon Burton as math whizÂ and nice guyÂ Oliver Rivers. MerrittÂ BeischelÂ leads us as through the 7 years, setting the toneÂ of this parody. Ben Dudley as Wayne Hopkins pulls you into the story,Â also an orphaned wizard, but heâ€™s more of a lost puppyâ€”you justÂ have toÂ love him.
6â€“ChrisÂ Wesselman.Â HisÂ performances asÂ J.Â FinchÂ Fletchey, Zach Smith andÂ othersÂ win theÂ HouseÂ Cup.Â But also bring the show to a PG 13 rating. (#JFinchApproved)
7â€“After all, isnâ€™t having a good time with your friends, enjoying precious memoriesÂ and making new ones, what the holidays are all about? We all grew up with Harry Potter, as a parent or a kid. Â This show packs as much warm fuzzies as gut-busting laughter, with a few doses ofÂ sombernessÂ thrown in.Â
A production this good, at this time of year, will sell out. Be Head Boy or Girl of your group of friends and family and call 513-300-5669 (KNOW) today. (Plan to sit up front for this interactive show!)
*Based on a Magical School of Wizardry.