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  Puff: Believe It Or Not at The Greenhouse Theater Center

Puff: Believe It Or Not

The Greenhouse Theater Center
2257 N Lincoln Avenue Chicago

An honorable and romantic cavalry officer returns to the salon society of 1840s Paris to find his countrymen addicted to exaggeration, dissimulation, fakery, and just downright lying. French master Eugene Scribe's forgotten gem, in a brilliant new translation by Ranjit Bolt, is packed full of elegant plotting, quirky characters, and sharply barbed wit, delightfully skewering the worlds of letters, politics, and finance.

Thru - Jan 7, 2018

Show Type: Comedy/Drama

Box Office: 773-404-7336

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  Puff: Believe It Or Not Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...Fakery-as-commodity in many hues and incarnations forms the zesty heart of Eugene Scribe’s 1840s comedy, “The Puff — or Falsehood and Truth.” Ranjit Bolt renders the title “Puff: Believe It or Not” in his translation, now in a sturdy world premiere with Remy Bumppo Theatre Company under Nick Sandys’ direction."
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Kerry Reid

Chicago Reader - Recommended

"...The play, being well-made, consists of an elaborately plotted yet perfectly trivial love story centered on Albert d’Angremont, a titled French military officer who’s just returned to Paris after years of living in a tent in the middle of the Sahara, fighting Algerians."
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Tony Adler

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...This production of Puff: Believe It Or Not is a rare chance to see a Scribe play, perhaps one of his wittiest. As directed by Nick Sandys, the rapid plot twists and turns both hold water and also amuse. It's a handsome production, too, especially Rachel Lambert's rich ( even gaudy ) costumes. Admittedly, the characters are shallow so that any psychological truth is coincidental—emotions are as mechanical as the plot—but that doesn't prevent Puff from being fun."
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Jonathan Abarbanel

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Director Nick Sandys conducts the script's ever-blooming mayhem with great assurance, but the production still hits some false notes; a sudden switch from classical tunes to club music in Victoria DeIorio's sound design and the need to bathe Marignan's apartment in gold (the set is by Joe Schermoly) are "modernizations" so on the nose they bruise cartilage. These touches don't make the play feel modern. In fact, they do the opposite, making you realize just how old the thing really is."
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Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...Sandys' skilled cast, including well-crafted cameos by Jerry Bloom and Matt Browning, misses no opportunity to twist Scribe's knives. Darlow's dry delivery, as always, nails the author's polemics like Luther's theses on the church door. Moaney's effortless uprightness contrasts mightily with Scribe's paradoxical, prevaricating Parisians - except for Walker's tender-hearted ingenue Antonia. Remy Bumppo's caricatures deserve each other - and, alas, their audiences have earned them too. If drama delivers the lies that tell the truth, Puff could well be the perfect play."
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Lawrence Bommer

Splash Magazine - Recommended

"...By combining the elements of France face/drawing room comedy with the addition of a character/commentator/instructor in the person of the oldest member of the cast, the audience is taken on a romp through a real of genteel horseplay. There is, throughout, a clever and intricate narrative construction."
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Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...When people of my generation hear the word "Puff" they think of cigarettes or perhaps "Puff, The Magic Dragon", and what that meant. Leave it to Remy Bumppo to find a very old play where this word means a great deal more. The name of the play is "Puff: Believe It Or Not" written by Eugene Scribe (what a great name for a writer) and translated by Ranjit Bolt. This adaptation is having its World Premiere thanks to this brilliant theater company that is not afraid to tackle works that others might never touch. The play is what is termed a "drawing- room comedy" that has many farcical characters and is filled with great comic moments."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Recommended

"...Ranjit Bolt’s translation retains the playwrights wordy wit, replete with enough chiasmus and double entendre to make your head spin. Scribe’s humor frequently has the ring of a precursor to the Marx Brothers albeit without the group’s signature nonsequitors. “Why would he woo me if he didn’t want me?” Corrine ponders at one point. One can imagine what Groucho might have to say about the matter."
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Kevin Greene

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...Eugene Scribe’s comedy is as entertaining as it is relevant and revealing. It’s impossible to attend this smart, sincere production without thinking about the road down which this country is madly careening. Fake news and the truth are continually at odds in 21st century America. It’s a frightening and alarming premise but, in Ranjit Bolt’s wise and witty translation, and Nick Sandys’ glorious production, this period play turns into a comical cautionary tale for today."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"..."Puff" is a high-risk choice for Remy Bumppo, arriving as a previously unproduced translation by a little known playwright. The viewer needs patience while the script gets all its dramatic ducks in a row, but from then on it's clear sailing, ultimately dropping ethical anchor at Albert's moral dilemma (too complicated to specify here). Still, viewers probably will take too much comic pleasure from the clever dialogue and excellent production to fret about what they would do if they were in Albert's shoes. Plus there is the continual satisfaction of watching Kelsey Brennan's captivating comic performance."
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Dan Zeff

Third Coast Review - Highly Recommended

"...Puff: Believe It or Not by Remy Bumppo Theatre is a smart, funny poke in the eye of the contemporary affection for fake news and hype about nothing, set in an 1840s Parisian drawing room. The character who is a stand-in for our moral outrage is Albert d’Angremont, a cavalry officer recently returned from five years in Algeria. He’s played with considerable dash and charm by Joshua Moaney."
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Nancy Bishop

Picture This Post - Highly Recommended

"...The play is long and plot-heavy, but it never feels stalled and fresh laughs are always quick to come. While much of the humor derives from the outrageousness of the characters, another constant source of delight is Rachel Lambert’s costume design. The excessive finery brightens up the stage and creates a clown-like atmosphere appropriate to Scribe’s satire. While Scribe’s way of setting up plots was criticized by later writers because it had become so ubiquitous, the cleverness of how he resolves everything is a treat, and Bolt’s self-aware translation/adaptation keeps the play from showing its age. Part of Remy Bumppo’s mission is to breathe life into plays that are highly literary, and with this world premiere, they’ve provided audiences interested in nineteenth-century period pieces with a unique opportunity to enjoy another era’s pop culture."
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Jacob Davis

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