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Theater Review: Puffs Mischievously Manages the Know Theatre


Puffs, the current production at Cincinnati’s Know Theatre absolutely brought down the house for a sell-out opening night crowd. The show is tightly scripted, remarkably staged and brilliantly performed.  

This fast-paced, hilarious comedy subtitled “seven increasingly eventful years at a certain school of magic and magic,” might – on some non-copyright violation level – remind you of a series of books and movies where some kid named Potter went to wizard school.  The United States Copyright Office will not interrupt your enjoyment of Puffs, although such an entrance would be a funny addition to Chris Wesselman’s various improvisational portions of the performance.

Puffs follows the adventures of three friends that have been accepted to a certain unnamed school of magic: Wayne (Ben Dudley), Oliver (Brandon Burton) and Megan (Maliyah Gramata-Jones).  A talking hat, whose job it is to place new students into magic scholastic/athletic teams, make these new students neither Snakes, Braves nor Smarts, but instead Puffs – the lowest rung of wannabe wizards on the magic school ladder. 

The next hour and twenty minutes narrated by Merritt Beischel is a raucous ride through seven years of magic school that may provide a backstory that seems vaguely familiar. Strap in and enjoy the broom ride. I suspect I will go a second time to catch all the lines I missed by laughing so hard and loud on opening night.

Those who happen to be fans of a certain wizard will love the show. And fear not to those like me who are not fans, you may end up laughing harder than the Potter nerd sitting next to you. When everyone else gasped at the ending, I was laughing at the irony of it all. Be aware that this is an adult show with adult language and deliciously wicked humor.

Reviews normally point out the stand-out talent in the show. In Puffs that is impossible. The entire cast (Jared England, Elizabeth Chinn Molloy, Jordan Trovillion, Andrew Ian Adams, Brianna Bernard, and Maggie Cramer) were perfectly cast in their many face-changing roles. It’s hard to imagine the off-Broadway cast of Puffs being any better than this crew.

Puffs is the best play to wander through the region in 2019. Miss it and you’ll be nothing but, well, a Puff. The show will be playing at the Know Theater in Cincinnati through December 21.

Review by Rick Robinson, RCN contributor

Photo by Mikki Schaffner (provided)