Review submitted by Keara Sax of South River High School.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Squibs and Squabs!” Calling all wizarding folk (and �Muggles’) to Chesapeake High School’s production of Puffs, or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic.
Puffs is the perfect Harry Potter spoof, with a beautifully paralleled storyline to the classic tale of �The Boy Who Lived’. This 110-minute play follows a not-so-magical wizard, Wayne, and his boisterous gang of outcasts better known as the Puffs. The story goes through their seven years at wizarding school as they learn to accept being the laughing stock of the school and attempt to handle the issues Harry brings to school.
Dylan Janik (Wayne Hopkins), Abby Dobry (Megan Jones), and Anthony Martinez (Oliver Rivers) are an endearing knockoff trio, representing many of the struggles of students in a new school: not fitting in or being cool, not wanting to fit in, not feeling smart enough, and above all- struggling to find yourself.
Most actors in Puffs play several characters, yet each character has distinct and unique traits. Alayna Reyes, whose Professor McG accent has an uncanny resemblance to Professor McGonagall’s in the movies also reappears later as Frenchy, a competitor in the “Three-Wizard Tournament”. Her thick French accent is a hilarious finishing touch to the abruptness of her character’s appearance, her line delivery cracking the audience up. Vivian Davenport(Narrator), while not playing several roles, presents herself well, her vocal fluctuations guiding the story and building intensity throughout the show. She is not a typical narrator, but rather fascinates the audience and tells the story from an interesting perspective, luring her listeners in.
The real magic, however, is the Crew’s work. Sound by Lia Bagley and Emily Turpin and lights by Aly Shelton and Melissa Turek are spot-on with each cue, creating many entertaining comedical gags, such as when Abby Dobry(Megan Jones) and Anthony Martinez(Oliver Rivers) share a kiss as Careless Whisper plays on a pink-lit stage before they are interrupted and the sound cuts abruptly and lights reset to normal. The set is brightly painted and functional, serving as the classroom, the quidditch bleachers, the “Rorrimdreiw”, and more. The props by Lola Scannell, Zoe Smith, Mackenzie Gray, Ella O’Brien, and Lexi Nidecker steal the show. From the Goblet of Fire that looks as if it is truly on fire, to the creative use of a massive fortune teller as the �Sorting Hat’, to the hand-crafted and painted wands each character holds that lights up when casting a spell.
Overall, Puffs is a must-see for any Harry Potter fan. While it may be hard to watch when things cannot canonically end well, such as Wayne’s attachment to Cedric (played by Alex Brown), Puffs is still an honest script that follows the original story, contains plenty of hilarious jokes and stabs at the original books and movies, and leaves the audience with a wonderful lesson on what it means to be a true Puff- and that everyone’s got a little Puff in them they have to embrace.
The performance reviewed was from Friday, 11/22/2019.
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