IN PRAISE OF PUFFS

Teenage wiz­ards on broom­sticks may sound fa­mil­iar, but Puffs shines light on a dif­fer­ent group of stu­dents at a cer­tain school of magic.

DNA Magazine - - BOOK REVIEWS -

IN RE­CENT years the pop­u­lar­ity of “trib­ute” and par­ody theatre pro­duc­tions has grown. These lov­ingly “reimag­ined” shows take pop­u­lar texts and give them twists or high­light sec­ondary char­ac­ters with new in­ter­twin­ing sub­plots.

Now, in the tra­di­tion of 50 Shades: The Mu­si­cal and Thrones: The Mu­si­cal Par­ody and For­bid­den Broad­way, comes Puffs – Or Seven In­creas­ingly Event­ful Years At A Cer­tain School Of Magic And Magic.

Puffs is a suc­cess­ful Off-Broad­way play that brings new life to the Harry Pot­ter sto­ries, fo­cus­ing on a group of wizard­ing stu­dents in fa­mil­iar sce­nar­ios, but hav­ing their own ex­pe­ri­ences, and mak­ing self-dis­cov­er­ies.

In other words, these are the kids you didn’t hear about.

Cre­at­ing new sto­ries around mi­nor or un­seen char­ac­ters is not that un­usual. Tom Stop­pard’s Rosen­crantz And Guilden­stern Are Dead, a play about two mi­nor char­ac­ters from Ham­let, is prob­a­bly the most fa­mous ex­am­ple. The un­for­tu­nate fate of Rosen­crantz and Guilden­stern is in­trin­si­cally linked to Ham­let’s and events well be­yond their con­trol.

Writer, Matt Cox felt the same way about the kids in Puffs. “The idea for the show came when I thought about how ter­ri­ble it would be to be one of those other stu­dents at this par­tic­u­lar magic school where, for seven years, they just wanted an ed­u­ca­tion, but things kept get­ting worse and worse,” says Cox.

“From that funny idea, it was a quick jump to name them Puffs, as pop cul­ture has deemed them the not-so-cool kids. I grew up not ex­actly the coolest kid in school, so I was able to piece it all to­gether into a hero’s story, but with a fo­cus on those side char­ac­ters. It’s the play for the char­ac­ters not des­tined to save the world.”

Pop­u­lar singer Rob Mills plays the hand­some Cedric. “The play is silly,” says Mills, “but has a big heart. I think we’re all chil­dren at heart, es­pe­cially as ac­tors. When our di­rec­tor asks us to tap into that child in your­self, with all its youth­ful and un­bri­dled en­thu­si­asm, it’s quite easy be­cause we’re all big kids.”

At the cen­tre of Puffs is the story of that hum­ble and frag­ile part of the soul.

“Re­gard­less of whether you’ve seen a cer­tain boy wiz­ard in a cer­tain movie, our three main char­ac­ters Wayne, Oliver and Me­gan are very love­able and they are also Australian,” says Mills. “It’s an un­der­dog story and we love an un­der­dog here in Australia. It’s very Steven Bradbury! These char­ac­ters are so hon­est and fal­li­ble. Peo­ple will re­late to them be­cause they are the nerds and dorks, the ones who just keep try­ing. As we say in the show, fail­ure is just a form of prac­tice. I think that’s what makes a real hero.”

Di­rected by Kristin McCarthy Parker (Fly, You Fools!) and with orig­i­nal mu­sic by Brian Hoes, Puffs has been hailed by many, in­clud­ing The New York Times review which said it, “Ex­udes a jovial, wink­ing fond­ness for all things Harry!”

“It’s a cel­e­bra­tion of peo­ple who don’t al­ways feel like the main char­ac­ters in their own life,” says Cox. “Ev­ery­one has a lit­tle pit of Puff in­side them, and I hope ev­ery­one walks away em­brac­ing that – that kind and loyal per­son in­side them. It’s a great part of hu­man­ity!”

The stu­dents at this par­tic­u­lar magic school just want an

ed­u­ca­tion but, for seven years, things keep get­ting worse and worse!

Puffs: the cast of 13 in­cludes Keith Brock­ett as Oliver, Ryan Hawke as Wayne, Eva Sey­mour as Me­gan, and Rob Mills as Cedric.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.