Thoughts on Puffs (or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic)

What: Puffs (or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic)
Where: Alex Theatre, St Kilda, Melbourne

Performances run until 12 August, 2018
For more information, please visit www.puffstheplay.com/australia#home

Hufflepuffs: often, the overlooked, ridiculed and the ordinary.

I’ve always considered house Hufflepuff the most lame – but I suppose that’s the premise of playwright Matt Cox’s Puffs (or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic).

Now officially Melbourne’s longest running play this century, having extended its already extended run at the Alex Theatre until August 12th, the show revolves around Australian wizard, Wayne (Ryan Hawke) and his friends Megan (Eva Seymour) and Oliver (Keith Brockett) at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry over the duration of Harry Potter’s school years.

The first act takes us through years 1-to-4 (“Year 4, the only time the Puffs mattered”); the second, years 5-7. I personally enjoyed Act I more as it stayed insideĀ  HP canon. And while centered around unfamiliar characters, the story remains within its universe a little better than Act II, that delves into the fictional world – namely Megan’s relationship with her estranged death eater mother.

There are too, some plot points best left to surprise. Like do favourites Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco or even Voldemort himself, make an appearance?

You’ll have to find that out for yourself …

As not endorsed, sanctioned, or in any other way supported directly or indirectly by Warner Bros. Entertainment, the Harry Potter book publishers, Sonia Friedman Productions or J.K. Rowling and her representatives; certain details are alluded to but not named – the names of the four houses, for example.

While your level of enjoyment isn’t fully dependent on your knowledge of the book and/or movie series, inside jokes may otherwise go missed the more unfamiliar you are. For example, the recasting of Albus Dumbledore after Richard Harris’s death between the Chamber of Secrets and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Puffs small-yet-talented cast play a variety of characters and some may find that confusing, like Matt Whitty switching between “Magical Me” Gilderoy Lockhart and the grimacing Severus Snape.

Playing Puffs’ golden boy is Rob Mills. A notable name in an otherwise unfamiliar cast; it’s an old cliche, but Mills is “surprisingly good”. Cedric: good looking, accomplished and a well-liked, all-rounder, Mills doesn’t have to try hard and plays to his natural type.

I wonder if Puffs would be as successful without the inclusion of the singer, songwriter and actor, best known as one of the finalists from Australian Idol. I only heard of the show through Mills – have others too been persuaded to go based on his influence?

I went in with low expectations (bar some eye-candy) and left having seen an clever, innovative, laugh-out-loud funny show, I have now happily and highly recommended to others.

The set (by set, costume and prop designer, Madeleine Bundy) is simple but with a lot of visual interest (try to get near the front, as it’s near impossible to see intricacies at the back without grabbing an available booster seat). The Dementors are done especially well and are as terrifying as they should be! The outside of the theatre feels as rich and special as its inside, and is worth arriving early to explore. There’s also programmes, t-shirts, tote bags amongst other things available in the gift shop; as well as a bar with drinks and snacks.

Name Hufflepuffs in the HP universe –

Justin Finch-Fletchley, Ernie MacMillan, Susan Bones … few else. Or if you’re asking yourself, “who?” Exactly right, it’s a house of little notoriety or achievement. The opinion of house yellow and black is often low, but hopefully Puffs will change all that.

Puffs is a true celebration of what makes Hufflepuff house so great – whether you identity as a Smart (Ravenclaw), Snake (Slytherin), Brave (Gryffindor) or dreaded Puff.

See it before it disappears! #thirdornothing


Please Note:
Late night shows include adult language and themes.
Weekend matinee shows have been made child-friendly.
For more information, please visit www.puffstheplay.com/australia#home

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