Theatre review: Puffs
For seven years a certain boy wizard went to wizard school. This is not his story.
Puffs, a lovable group of misfits, just happened to attend a certain wizarding school at the same time as Harry Potter. Puffs offers a fresh look at the familiar tale of the boy wizard from the perspective of three new heroes just trying to make it through wizard school.
Pop culture has branded Hufflepuff the least desirable Hogwarts house, home to the wizarding school’s untalented, uncool, eccentric and mediocre students.
Despite being much maligned by the other wizarding houses, each of the yellow-wearing, badger-loving Hufflepuff students, known as Puffs, are the heroes in the story of their own lives.
This laugh-out-loud unauthorised comedy follows a group of Puffs who start their Hogwarts journey the same year as Harry, Ron and Hermione, taking the minor characters from the Harry Potter novels and putting them centre stage.
The narrator (Gareth Isaac) takes us through each year of the Puff’s Hogwarts journey where orphaned Wayne from Queensland, maths-prodigy Oliver and rebel Megan live lives that loosely mirror that of Harry and his friends.
More than once, supposedly innocuous events from the main story are played out on stage, revealing that fates of certain characters from the books were indirectly caused by the comments, actions, or inaction, of the Puffs.
The set and costumes are deliberately low-budget and go for iconic reference points, such as the Fat Friar’s Elizabethan collar, Voldemort’s lack of nose and Snape’s measured monotone to represent characters, rather than the slick costumes usually associated with Harry Potter.
Puffs is for die-hard Potterheads and features the kind of gags and in-jokes that will fly completely over the heads of anyone who is not intimately familiar with the Harry Potter books, films and wider Potter cannon. If you don’t know your Richard Harris from your Michael Gambon or why Death Eaters suddenly don’t need a broom to fly anymore, this isn’t the play for you.
Overall, the show is an incredibly fun and will have you laughing out loud for the entire two-hour performance. Ten points to Hufflepuff.
Kristen McCarthy Parker
James Bryers, Adam Marks, Angelina Thomson, Kimie Tsukakoshi, Gareth Isaac.
Suitable for ages 14 and up as it contains coarse language and adult themes. On weekend matinees Puffs has been lightly transfigured to be suitable for wizards aged eight and above.