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BWW Review: PUFFS at BIRMINGHAM FESTIVAL THEATRE Conjurers Laughs, Wow, and Fun Satire About a Certain Boy Wizard

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Muggles and Wizards will be spellbound by this Harry Potter parody comedy

BWW Review: PUFFS at BIRMINGHAM FESTIVAL THEATRE Conjurers Laughs, Wow, and Fun Satire About a Certain Boy Wizard

"Puffs" at Birmingham Festival Theatre is a comedy that takes great liberties with the hit stories of a certain popular young wizard. An enchanted cast that is fearlessly rambunctious electrifies "Puffs". Director Kelsey Crawford's magic gets you under the spell of the show right from the jump. If you are a Harry Potter fan, "Puffs" is a must see performance. Written by Matt cox "Puffs" focuses on this less notable house at the big school for wizards. It's not the house of the brave ones, the smart ones or the snakey ones. This is house of Puff! Home to the outcasts, weirdos, and lesser-known children at the Wizarding School who never get a second glance. They are gleeful to fail, and are never a threat. With Puffs, it's third or nothing!

BWW Review: PUFFS at BIRMINGHAM FESTIVAL THEATRE Conjurers Laughs, Wow, and Fun Satire About a Certain Boy Wizard

"Puffs" begins with crisp and dry comical narrator (Jonathan Sweatt) setting the pace, telling the familiar tale of a young wizard orphaned at birth who comes to study at the big school for wizards in England. The boys name is ..... wait for it, Wayne (Blake Tanner) from New Mexico. Lacking skills, smarts, and bravery he fits right in with all the other Puffs.

BWW Review: PUFFS at BIRMINGHAM FESTIVAL THEATRE Conjurers Laughs, Wow, and Fun Satire About a Certain Boy Wizard

He soon bonds with two students that become his besties for the next seven years. Oliver (Carlton V. Bell II), a mild, meek math fanatic who is "Mug Born". Megan (Rachael Upton) is an emo angist-antress who is raging over her dark wizard mom Xavia (Rhonda Erbrick) being locked up. The chemistry shared between actors Tanner, Bell and Upton are a highlight of the performance. They get you invested with the characters quickly as they face off against familiar HP threats, including of course the villainous Voldy (Jared Funderburg) and his "Death Buddies".

BWW Review: PUFFS at BIRMINGHAM FESTIVAL THEATRE Conjurers Laughs, Wow, and Fun Satire About a Certain Boy Wizard

The play progresses as each school year passes. Resulting in a raucous parody of all seven HP books. It pokes fun but doesn't make fun of the series. "Puffs" still delivers a fun zero to hero journey of Wayne (Tanner), Oliver (Bell) and Megan (Upton). They each give wonderful range as these characters grow into adult wizards. Crawford's careful direction allow the feels to be present even in such a strong comedic production.

BWW Review: PUFFS at BIRMINGHAM FESTIVAL THEATRE Conjurers Laughs, Wow, and Fun Satire About a Certain Boy Wizard

"Puffs" features a fiercely talented coven of actors to play all the students of house Puff. Each actor dives headfirst into making comical magic in multiple roles. The embracing of creative fearlessness is impressive. If you are a fan of the Harry Potter franchise, you will be gob smacked to see how many characters they reference. Portrayals include using a person, prop, puppet, or even a voice in the void.

BWW Review: PUFFS at BIRMINGHAM FESTIVAL THEATRE Conjurers Laughs, Wow, and Fun Satire About a Certain Boy Wizard

I don't want to ruin any of the unexpected joys and powerful laughs in show. The ensemble brilliantly attacks seven books worth of characters with precise attention to detail. Catherine Champion shines as a dippy Harry Potter. Jared Funderburg slays with sass as Lord Voldy. Karen Marie Black is comically tragic as Bippy the house elf. Rhonda Erbrick enchants as devilish Xavia Jones. Sara James raises laughs as lightheaded Leanne. Jesse Byron is terrifically ragged Alastor Moody and Mark Nelson comically pops as Professor Quirrell.

BWW Review: PUFFS at BIRMINGHAM FESTIVAL THEATRE Conjurers Laughs, Wow, and Fun Satire About a Certain Boy Wizard

The creative team worked real magic in the supporting elements of the show. The production level of the set, costumes, and props are strong with whimsy and simple construction. Puppets, wands, lights and sound effects all materialize awe without overpowering the story. The show carries over 200 props, 300 sound cues, and 200 lighting cues. Abracadabra!

BWW Review: PUFFS at BIRMINGHAM FESTIVAL THEATRE Conjurers Laughs, Wow, and Fun Satire About a Certain Boy Wizard

I found 'Puffs" at BFT to be delightfully absurd. You will find a tight, fun show featuring creative talents of some of Birmingham's best actors who chew up the stage as if it was a chocolate frog. Harry Potter fans must jump on a broom and get your tickets now. The laughs are so frequent and loud that you may need to watch it twice in order to catch all of the lines.

BWW Review: PUFFS at BIRMINGHAM FESTIVAL THEATRE Conjurers Laughs, Wow, and Fun Satire About a Certain Boy Wizard

How To Get Tickets

  • The Sunday matinees are family friendly performances. The rest of the performances do use bad badger language. So, be aware.
  • Haze and fog effects are used in the performance.
  • Masks will be required. BFT will have masks available if any patrons are in need of one.
  • Five Points is getting difficult for parking. Give yourself ample time to find a parking space. The BFT website has parking suggestions.

Puffs or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic

Birmingham Festival Theatre

1901 1/2 11th Ave S

Birmingham, AL 35205

October 22 - Nov 14th

Tickets - bftonline.org

Photo Credit: Steven Ross

BWW Review: PUFFS at BIRMINGHAM FESTIVAL THEATRE Conjurers Laughs, Wow, and Fun Satire About a Certain Boy Wizard


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