Theatre Review: "Potted Potter" is gleeful magical fun for the family, but hardcore Potterheads should temper expectations
When our editor asked me two weeks ago if I knew anything about Harry Potter, I answered how I expect a lot of people my age would: “Oh, I've read a couple of the books and I've seen all of the movies, but I wouldn't call myself a fan”.
After a little discussion, Howie and I decided to do a split review: Howie with the perspective of a true Harry Potter buff and me, with the experience of seeing a few plays. Neither of us were ready for what we had in store. Obviously, to anyone who has even Googled Potted Potter before, this is a bit preposterous.
Potted Potter is a two-man show that condenses all of the 7 Harry Potter books with the help of some slapstick humour, dazzling lighting, and a pretty impressive collection of dollar store costumes. The two performers quickly set up a classic comedy dynamic with Dan (Daniel Clarkson) as the goofy, loud and wisecracking impersonator and Scott (Scott Hoatson) as the bookish straight man. The two are really energetic and engaging, showing off their quick thinking with some clever improvisations. Originally, Potted Potter was a 20-minute skit that the two original creators performed to the hordes of children waiting in line for their copies of the fifth book, and frankly, it feels as if they had to stretch to make it fill a 70-minute runtime.
Don't get me wrong, Potted Potter is a great time for any budding Potterheads still in primary school (as well as their accompanying guardians); but to anyone who grew up alongside Harry Potter, the play leaves alot to be desired. The observations they make don't ever push the performance into thoughtful and well-executed parody, but maybe I was looking for too much (or just 8 years too old). Despite all this, I can’t deny the effect this performance had on the kids in the room. When the show really kicked into gear (or when the audience got to play quidditch), there were little smiles and uproarious laughter scattered throughout the theatre. While families are going to find the magic they are looking for, hardcore Potterheads may need to temper their expectations to enjoy the ride.