Friday, December 8, 2017

Review of Remy Bumppo's Puff: Believe It Or Not

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Puff: Believe It Or Not. It was by Eugène Scribe and translated by Ranjit Bolt. It was directed by Nick Sandys. It was about a man named Albert (Joshua Moaney) who had come back from military service in Algeria. He was in love with his friend Maxence's (Gregory Geffrard) sister Antonia (Netta Walker). But her brother wanted her to be married to someone rich, so he arranged for her to be married to the Comte de Marignan (Christopher Sheard). But Antonia's friend Corrine (Kelsey Brennan), the daughter of of Cesar Degaudets (David Darlow) who people think is one of the richest men in the country, wanted to marry the count herself. Everyone, except Albert, starts lying to everyone else about their money, their writing, and their affections. I love a good farce, and this play really delivered that. It also has a very good point, which is that one of the problems with society is that lying is considered acceptable and even necessary for power and stature. I thought this was a really fun show. I love these kind of plays, and I had never heard of this one before, but I really enjoyed it.

The romantic tension between Albert and Antonia was so hilarious. Literally, they could not look at each other without looking they were having an aneurysm. It was so funny to see them back away from each other, look at each other longingly, realize they were looking at each other longingly, look away embarrassed, then have to look again. It was really adorable because it is very relatable for a lot of people--if their crushes like them back. They both seem to have standards that they want to meet for each other, but they would give each other up just so they can be worthy of each other. I think they are two really good eggs who aren't willing to lie for anything, which shows they are a good match for each other. Nobility isn't always the right choice, though, because sometimes the noble choice isn't good for anyone. The count, on the other hand, ends up doing something noble, even though he just thinks he is pretending to do something noble. I think the writer does think you should lie sometimes when it is needed, but he is still critiquing some of the lies people tell.

The other relationship in this show is a revenge relationship. The count had sent very romantic lying letters to Corinne, so that she wouldn't write nasty things about him in the newspaper, but then when she finds out the letters are lies, she begins to plot her revenge: marrying him (thunder). I think it is pretty hilarious because it is not what you are expecting someone's revenge to be. It's funny to see her try to seduce him in all these various ways and him not paying attention to her. It might be sad, except she doesn't seem to care. She wants to marry him in spite of himself. She is also writing these memoirs which are highly exaggerated and very funny. This ends up being a really big plot point, which I think is a really great way to tie together the story.

The set (by Joe Schermoly) and costumes (by Rachel Lambert) really contribute a lot to the humor in the show. When the lights come up in the beginning of act two, you see that the set is now all velvet, zebra print, and gold. Everything in the second act is a thousand times bigger and weirder and crazier. The zebra print and gold set your expectations for the rest of the play. And when Corinne comes in with see-through pants and a tiara you're just like "Yep. This play has officially gone insane, and I am loving it."

People who would like this show are people who like love aneurysms, marriage revenge, and see-through pants. I think people should definitely definitely go see this show. It is a smart farce with hilarious and great performances. I loved it!

Photos: Nathanael Filbert

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