Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Potted Potter, Oct 28, 2014 REVIEW ****

Potted Potter: The Unauthorised Harry Experience, by Daniel Clarkson & Jefferson Turner 
Playhouse, Arts Centre, Melbourne; Oct 28 to Nov 2, 2014
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Oct 28
Stars: **** 
Full review also published in Herald Sun online on Wed Oct 29, 2014 and later in print. KH
Benjamin Stratton and James Percy

Potted Potter is a goofy, impudent parody of all seven Harry Potter books performed in 70 minutes that would make even J.K. Rowling laugh.

The two engaging actors, cheeky Benjamin (Ben) Stratton and geeky James Percy, portray all of Rowling’s characters; well, about 20 of the main ones, anyway.

This family show has no flashy set or lighting, no astounding animatronics, fancy costumes or huge cast of famous actors because Ben spent the entire show budget on a spectacular dragon for book four.

Potted Potter, originally devised and performed by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner and directed by Richard Hurst, mercilessly parodies the story, characters, magic and the sheer length of the series.

Because Ben hasn’t read the books, most of the gags arise from his wildly inaccurate characterisations: Ron Weasley is a rap-talking, Jamaican kid in an orange clown wig, Voldemort wears devil’s horns, Snape has a dodgy French accent, Hagrid wears a Motown afro, and Hermione sports plaits and a crusty baritone.

Meanwhile, James, the exasperated Potter purist, struggles to portray Harry accurately and to honour his adventures in Hogwarts, but he is horrified by Ben’s sabotage of his favourite scenes and becomes the butt of all of Ben’s gags.

There was enough playful, audience participation, with highlights being a 9-year old who wrestled James to the ground when James was playing the Golden Snitch, and somebody’s grandad who kicked insane goals during the Quidditch match.

Ben’s powerpoint presentation of the entire book three is inspired and his fast-switching between characters behind the wardrobe gets plenty of laughs for its hilarious, intentional messiness.

But the peak of the show is the inspired finale that plays the final book, The Deathly Hallows, as a duet of I Will Survive sung by Voldermort and Harry.

This impertinent mockery of the Potter series is a delight for the family and a must for the initiated that love the books.

By Kate Herbert

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