By Kieran J Evans
What can twenty of the finest West End actors do that two men in a series of wigs and special effects, ranging from wild accents to speaking with your mouth full, cannot do in an hour?
We may never know: its not in the budget.
Potted Potter: The Unauthorised Harry Experience, a parody created by Jefferson Turner and Daniel Clarkson, began in 2005 originally as a five minute review of the story so far in Harry Potter; a skit for fans waiting in line for the midnight release of book six. Over time it has evolved in to the hour(ish) long performance it is now. This show has been taken on tour several times, ranging from all over Canada, the USA, the UK, and now to Australia. Beyond that, it has made several festival circuit forays via Adelaide Fringe, Melbourne Comedy Festival, and the New Zealand Comedy Festival.
Potted Potter has also been nominated for a Best Entertainment and Family Olivier Award, and won the Best of Las Vegas Award; and it shows in spades.
The show took Caloundra in the Sunshine Coast by storm this week with their antics of a certain boy wizard in a condensed, cursory, captivating production that left many in stitches; of a laughter variety, certainly. Jeff, in his role as half the creative duo, teams up with Joseph Maudsley to bring the ultimate, although unauthorised, Harry experience to Australian audiences. The show describes an almost tongue in cheek take on the famous story we have grown up with and loved throughout its infancy as they bring a comedic, uplifting twist to a story that has steadily darkened over the years.
With a hilariously, creative, yet minimal, set design by Simon Scullion, that would make even Scrooge blush, we are transported in to the
four three walls of this interactive piece; complete with 3D Quidditch and half the creative crew running amok. Even with the minimal actors to corral, Director, Richard Hurst, and Associate Director, Hanna Berrigan have their work cut out for them, creating a cleverly staged telling of all seven books with nothing but two actors, a minimalistic set, some wigs and clever props. This production is a hoot from start to end.
Joe was able to find and make excellent use of the lighting designed by Tim Mascall, in a surprising move to stage managers everywhere, particularly in regards to music composed by Phil Innes, as the show wrapped up. Jeff provided a serious counterpart to Joe’s antics that made for some absolutely side-splitting moments of comedy as these two talented actors collided on stage.
The Potted Potter creative team as a whole must be congratulated for putting together such an incredible piece, despite the seemingly unpredictable chaos unfolding around the two performers front and centre.
Potted Potter is an amazingly fun romp for all ages, from six to Dumbledore – who is very old indeed. The show continues its tour from 25 – 27 March to Adelaide, 30 March – 4 April in Sydney, 8 – 10 April in Newcastle, 20 – 24 April in Perth, and flying a full size Ford Anglia back to Brisbane for 10 – 15 May. Tickets for their Australian tour are one sale now, so get in quick!
Dates outside of Australia can also be viewed on their website.
This magical show will leave you in a whirlwind of laughter, whether you know everything or nothing about Harry Potter. Although the execution may leave you questioning whether you really knew anything at all quite so hilarious.