PUFFS Bringing the magic to Fringe

You might be familiar with the tale of a certain boy who went to Wizard School, but local team Art in Motion Theatre Company are here to show you a side of the story you’ve never heard before. PUFFS or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic is an adventure from the perspective of three new heroes just trying to make it through wizard school, offering a fresh take on a beloved story. Ahead of hitting The Royale Theatre from Monday, January 17 to Sunday, January 23 for Fringe World 2022, Director Lys Tickner spoke to BRAYDEN EDWARDS to reveal the magic behind the production.

Congratulations on bringing PUFFS to Fringe 2022! How long has this show been in the works for and how does it feel to bringing it to the stage this summer?

Art in Motion Theatre Company (AIM) first brought PUFFS to the stage in 2020 to reduced capacity audiences due to COVID so we just felt the need and desire to bring the show back to life so that those that missed out the first time can experience the pure joy that is PUFFS. The cast and crew all agreed that Fringe Word 2022 was the perfect platform to remount the show for. We are super excited to be bringing the show back to life for five shows only at the magnificent Royale Theatre at Planet Royale.

The story is a unique twist on a tale that we might be familiar with! Where did the idea for this come from?

This play is the mastermind of playwright author Matt Cox and was launched as an Off Broadway production in 2016. Since then it has been produced professionally around the world but not in Perth as yet. The storyline goes like this…For seven years a certain boy wizard went to a certain Wizard School and conquered evil. This, however, is not his story. This is the story of the Puffs… who just happened to be there too. A tale for anyone who has never been destined to save the world.

And what have your team brought to the production? How will the performance be different from other incarnations of the show?

We have produced this as a Community Theatre production but you will be hard pressed to think that our production is not of a professional quality as we take you through the twists and turns that is PUFFS. We have introduced one of the characters as an Australian student from the Outback, which brings its own hilarities to the interpretation of the script. The script also allows for a lot of improv, meaning that every show will be slightly different in its delivery.

School is challenging enough for young people, but what kind of unique kinds of challenges do the characters need to overcome to survive in a Wizard School?

Wizard school is hard, the PUFFS mostly survived by being nice and getting a good night’s sleep. Oh and avoiding snakes.

Why should PUFFS be on everyone’s Fringe World list?

This show is one not to be missed. The humour is very adult and very entertaining. If you are a Millenial or Gen Z and grew up with a “certain boy wizard who went to a certain magic school” then you will fall off of your seat laughing at the clever way in which this story has been written. This story is also for every “underdog” out there because if you can’t come first then you might as well reach for “third place or nothing.”

Who are Art in Motion and what’s next for you and the team in 2022? Any other shows in the pipeline to look forward to?

AIM are a not for profit community theatre based in Perth. We formed in 2018 as we were finding that the politics in certain other theatre companies was sucking the joy out of theatre for us. We formed with the motto that we are a drama free, drama club and have gone on to direct fun shows including Grease, Footloose and The SpongeBob Musical along with youth plays including The Snow Queen and Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach.

Next for us is the musical ‘Title of Show.’ This was written by Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell for the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2004, it was written in the three weeks prior to the deadline and was a winner. It is a musical about writing a musical for a festival in only three weeks. We are looking at touring this production around the state in August 2022.

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