PUFFS, or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic is nowhere close to being done casting its spell over New York. The magical adult parody from writer Matt Cox moved locations in October, and I couldn’t wait to see what magic the cast and crew could create with more props, a different stage, and a new home. Full disclosure: I saw this show three times at The Peoples Improv Theater and fell in love with it there, so I was eager to see what the talented cast had in store.
If you’re not familiar with the story of the Puffs, they’re a loyal and colorful bunch just trying to make it through at a certain School of Magic & Magic. Winding its way through these turbulent years, the play tells a story through the eyes of several likeable and hilarious characters.
The main Puffs trio consists of Wayne (Zac Moon, who wonderfully captures his character’s heart); angry, Nirvana-loving Megan (Julie Ann Earls); and math-loving, most-likely-to-guest-star-on-Numb3rs Oliver (Langston Belton). This time around, Cedric is embodied by James Fouhey, who takes on the role of Most Popular Puff with confidence and ease. Meanwhile, A.J. Ditty returns as our favorite engaging narrator, guiding us through the seven years with the passion and flourish PUFFS fans have come to love (Rolos!).
Nick Carillo, Madeleine Bundy, Jessie Cannizzaro, Andy Miller, Stephen Stout, and Eleanor Philips round out the cast, who tackle everything from professors to house-elves. Needless to say, Stephen continues to prove his mastery of accents and impressions, while also delivering a sex talk for the ages. Eleanor, Jessie, and Madeleine are fantastic to watch as they shift and change between some of our favorite characters, delivering performances that showcase their talent and range as effortlessly as a flick of a wand. Meanwhile, Nick is as captivating as ever as J. Finch, and laugh-out-loud funny as the underappreciated (but certainly fan-favorite) Zack Smith.
There aren’t many cons to mention, and the list had more to do with the venue itself than the show. For instance, the bathroom probably could’ve used some attention… and perhaps a window. What’s more, not every seat at The Elektra is amazing, whereas The PIT gives you that intimate feeling no matter where you’re located. That said, The Elektra’s bigger stage allows for more wiggle-room and creativity, and the cast and crew certainly took advantage of that to craft a show everyone will enjoy. (To find out more about the transition, check out our interview with writer Matt Cox.)
And there’s still a bar. Priorities, you know.
AND, official PUFFS merchandise is now available!
Much like badgers, this show is great. It’s not one to be missed and is a perfect outing for the holiday season.
Get tickets for all upcoming performances at The Elektra Theatre.