Review by Raechel Lombardo of “Puffs”: Know Theatre
Are you familiar with, or even a fan of, a certain wizarding boy franchise that dominated the literature and movie industry in the early 2000s? Are you curious about the perspective of a particular house or group of people from that universe during the dark times at that famous magic school and the wizard war that ensued? Are you someone who likes a fun time filled with laughter and other wonderful, nerdy fans? Then Know Theatre’s “Puffs” by Matt Cox is exactly what you are looking for.
Misfits Megan, Wayne, and Oliver are coming to terms with their new wizarding identities as well as their placement in the essentially outcast and awkward house called Puffs. In the meantime, a particular hero boy in the school is consistently defeating dark forces and being so unique (but that’s not really important, is it!). As they try to manage their personal struggles, academic, and the scary world of dating, the students in Puffs House are also coming to accept their unique qualities.
As a fan of the franchise of this certain school of magic, and someone who wants other fans to know of this fantastic opportunity to geek out over a story that is so well done and innovated, I have one thing to say: Thank you.
Thank you to the performers. I cannot stress how incredibly versatile and compatible this large cast is: Andrew Ian Adams (Cedric and Mr. Voldy), Merritt Beischel (Narrator), Brianna Bernard (Sally Perks, and others), Brandon Burton (Oliver Rivers), Maggie Cramer (Leanne, and others), Ben Dudley (Wayne Hopkins), Jared Earland (Ernie Mac, and others), Maliyah Gramata-Jones (Megan Jones), Elizabeth Chin Molloy (Hannah, and others), Jordan Trovillion (Susie Bones, and others), Chris Wesselman (J. Finch Fletchley, and others). A truly selfless, talented, strong group of performers that is dedicated to creating an incredible, engaging experience for the audience. Each performer is set in staying in character (no matter what character they switch into) to provide interesting and silly little moments you notice when you look away from the speaking roles for just a moment. Thank you for obviously having fun and sharing that fun and dedicated understanding of this certain magic school with us.
Thank you to the ambitious, innovative, skilled production team that took great care in putting together an already amazing script and adding more wonderful touches: Andrew Hungerford (Director & Lighting Designer), John Baca (Magical Melees), Baron E. Pugh (Scenic Designer), Noelle Wedig-Johnston (Costume Designer), Doug Borntrager (Sound Designer), Henry Bateman (Technical Director), Kayla Williams (Props Designer & Paint Charge), Meghan Winter (Resident Stage Manager), Madelyn Hawver (Asst. Stage Manager), Matthew Schutte (Asst. Stage Manager), James Allen (Composer), Chaslee Schweitzer (Dialect Coach), Andrew Homan (Finish Carpenter), Danitza Piper (Production Assistant), Sean Mette (Soul Sucking Security Guard Designer). The fact that I’ve never heard about some of these roles just goes to show how important it was for the team to get this play to where it needed to be, and that effort certainly does not go unnoticed.
Thank you to the playwright, Matt Cox, for writing such a joyful play that allows us to geek out over our favorite fandom, and provides such a great opportunity for multiple actors to share their talents.
And thank you to the Know Theatre of Cincinnati for always being so strange and unafraid to do strange things. It’s wonderful, and matches the Puffs House very well.
I urge all wizard fans of a certain magic school to catch the next broom stick to grab a “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Beer” and see “Puffs” before it ends December 21st.