Potted Potter – The Unauthorised Harry Experience

Potted Potter Rating

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Every now and again a show comes along that is simply just good fun. Potted Potter is one of these shows. It is child-like (in the best possible way), hysterical and does not depend on a deep knowledge of the seven Harry Potter books.

The Playhouse, normally home to the State Theatre Company of SA, was packed with eager children of all ages, some dressed as their heroes, accompanied by apprehensive parents. The atmosphere was palpable.

The stage is shrouded with mysterious objects covered with sheets, a study corner with a desk standing on a pile of books, ominous shadows and eerie music. A perfect setting for horror story, but this production is everything but that!

Written by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, with direction by Richard Hurst, set by Simon Scullion, lighting by Tim Mascall, video by Tom Hillenbrand and music by Phil Innes, Potted Potter was ‘born’ in 2005 as a 5-minute street show, and has evolved since then, travelling around the world, into the current 70-minute spectacle.

Featuring the comedic talents of Scott Hoatson and Jacob Jackson, the production rockets along and includes, puppets, quidditch, fast costume changes, quidditch, audience participation, quidditch, topical references and yes, of course, quidditch!

At roughly 10 minutes per book, this is no mean feat for Scott and Jacob, however, they handle the task with ease and never allow the pace or the humour to drop, complete with numerous ad libs and in jokes.

Hoatson plays the wizard himself, complete with the trademark glasses and more than a passing resemblance. Jackson plays all the other characters (except the golden snitch). Individually and together, they are masters of their art with enough material to interest children and adults alike. The rapport between them is amazing, particularly when using physical humour.

If you are a Harry Potter purist, be prepared to suspend your devotion to perfection for 70 minutes and embrace your inner child. There are references to Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, Australian political figures and more!

At times it is hard to determine where the script ends and the ad libs begin as the performers work at rocket pace daring us to keep up. The direction (Richard Hurst) is flawless and we could be forgiven for believing the boys are ‘making it up as they go along as the banter is completely natural.

Highlights for me include – Voldemort wearing bright red horns (a parody of Maleficent?), the final battle between Harry and the dark lord staged as a sing off to ‘I Will Survive’ and the terrifying (or is it?) Norwegian Ridgeback dragon battle with Harry.

As wonderful as these highlights are, the climax of the evening is the game of Quidditch with two lucky members of the audience as ‘keepers’. Blow up globes of the Earth bounce through the audience in search of the lifebuoy goals in the auditorium and the golden snitch is spotted and captured to win the game. Hoatson, as the snitch, in an amazing golden costume that defies my description, was lucky to survive the keepers in this performance.

Potted Potter – The unauthorised Harry experience – a Parody by Dan and Jeff is a joyous 70 minutes packed with hilarity, audience participation and downright good fun. It is sure to cast a spell on those who are young, and those us who wish we still were! A must see!

Dunstan Playhouse – Adelaide Festival Centre. May 10-12

This review also appears on It’s On The House. Check out more reviews at Whats The Show to see what else is on in your town.

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