Brace yourselves, Harry Potter fans. You can view the entire story of Hogwarts’ greatest wizard in hyperspeed … and from a new point of view.
Welcome to the Off-Broadway parody, Puffs: Or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic, that is entertaining audiences and Potterheads alike at New World Stages in New York City.
Our family has read all seven Harry Potter books, seen every film multiple times, and gobbled up every morsel of news surrounding author J.K. Rowling as well as our favorite muggles and wizards. What truly piqued our interest in Puffs was that the performance flipped the script, shifting the lens away from the well-known Gryffindor character of Harry Potter to a secondary character who also resides is in the Hufflepuff House (origin name for the show).
In just 100-minutes, the whirlwind, rapid-paced performance tickled our guts as we watched this clever spin on a familiar tale take the big stage. Puffs unravels the story of Wayne, an American-raised average kid, who also happens to be a wizard, and enters Hogwarts the same year as Harry Potter. Our magical delight is captured from the opening lightning bolt when the performers creatively poke fun at the Potter series — they use a massive-sized paper fortune teller instead of the Sorting Hat to determine Hogwarts houses. Contrary to what we might expect, our lead characters in the performance are sorted into the Puffs (HufflePuff House) known for being loyal and ordinary rather than the more well-known and extraordinary Braves (Gryffindor), Snakes (Slytherin), and Smarts (Ravenclaw).
In a parallel to the electric trio of Harry, Hermione and Ron from the book series, unremarkable Wayne surrounds himself with two unlikely, but comedic outcasts, Oliver and Megan. Wayne and friends do a masterful job of navigating the audience through a nostalgic journey — flying and apparating from book one through seven while barreling toward important life lessons about friendship and hope while striving for (moderate) success.
With humor, intelligence and a dose of magic, the witty ensemble cast spoofs familiar characters like Albus Dumbledore, Severus Snape, Mad Eye Moody and a host of others to bring down the house with chuckles and flair that will make any Potter fan thirsting for more. Cedric Diggory was our favorite character — full of swagger, zest and charm –because he had us in hysterics during the Tri-Wizard Tournament. It was so refreshing to the Harry Potter story from the different vantage point and we recommend it to Potterheads near and far.
A few notes for families that are considering buying tickets for a future performance:
- The performance is one-hour and forty minutes without an intermission. Even though the content is captivating and pace non-stop, that’s a long time for a 10-year-old to go without a potty break … so pack a few snacks and hit the bathroom right before the show begins
- Beware of sensitive language. Puffs offers matinée shows on the weekend that skew to a younger audience like our family.
- The show is definitely geared toward Harry Potter fans. I wouldn’t recommend the show to people who don’t have a solid grasp on the main characters and plot of the Potter franchise because it might be difficult to follow.
- New World Stages is an intimate theater with only about 200 seats so just about every seat is a good one and in close proximity to the action on the stage
- The strength of Puffs lies in its creative character performances. Don’t expect big budget, Broadway scenery that razzles and dazzles or characters on broomsticks flying through the air playing Quidditch.
Disclosure: NYC Dads Group received complimentary passes to attend a recent “Puffs” performance to facilitate this review. The views and opinions expressed are completely our own.