Potted Potter: A Review

Emily Dyer


Harry Potter is indescribable. It is beyond genius, beyond perfect- even beyond supermegafoxyawesome. The Harry Potter series is in a league of its own, and it has caused a phenomenon that somehow crosses age, gender, and cultural barriers. Mostly, though, for many 90s kids, Harry Potter is a kid we grew up with. When I asked a few of my friends what Harry Potter meant to them, one told me that she “actually can’t explain what Harry Potter means to [her]; imagine summing up your entire childhood,” and another said that “Harry Potter is just a whole other world to escape into.” Somehow, these young wizards and witches shaped an entire generation of children.

Now that the series is finished and all the movies have been released, Harry Potter
fans are left searching for something new in the Potterverse.  That’s is where J.K. Rowling’s (STILL IN BETA TESTING) website pottermore, the Wizarding World theme park in Orlando, A Very Potter Musical, and millions of other authorized and unauthorized parodies and attractions find their audience. Potted Potter also draws the majority of its audience from Harry’s hardcore fans.

However, if you walk into this play thinking that you are actually going to see
something vaguely similar to Harry Potter, you will be disappointed. If you go
into the play expecting to see a traditional satire of a pop-culture icon, you
will also be sorely disappointed. If you go into the play expecting to have a
good time and laugh like mad, you will be in giggling hysterics by the end.

The two-man show stars Daniel Clark and Jeff Turner, British Children’s TV
personalities and parody artists, who wrote and perform this 75-minute summary
of all seven Harry Potter books. Jeff comes off as the serious one; in the
play, he is the Harry Potter expert and the production was his idea. Dan is the
buffoon; he pretends to have read the books and often mixes Harry Potter up
with the Lord of the Rings or Narnia.  Jeff plays Harry Potter, Dan plays the other 345 characters.

The first third of the play was rather slow. The introduction and the first three
books were not boring; they just weren’t funny enough to make up for the
complete lack of adherence to the books. Hayley Goldfarb, who saw the show with
me, looked a bit sleepy through this part, and afterwards she said she “was a
bit worried until they got to the fourth book”. In this part, we learn that Dan
spent the entire prop and actor budget on a dragon for the fourth movie (which
turned out to be a hand puppet), and that he has no idea what happens in any of
the books.

But then they got to the Goblet of Fire, and the first game of Quidditch in the
play.  Dan quickly organizes the audience in the Gryffindor and Slytherin teams, and brings two young children onstage. The boy who was the Slytherin seeker seemed to have a natural gift for comedy. He pretty much stole the show from it’s two stars by telling Dan “he was the Snitch” and grabbing his head, and by screaming “he calls for silence” when Dan was trying to calm to crowd. After that, the show turned into a blur of
laughter, which led straight into the finale, an adaptation of “I Will Survive”
centered on the fight between Harry and Voldemort.

From the million costume changes to puppetry and slapstick, this comedy was fun for
everyone- except maybe some hardcore Potterites, who might not like the
extremely comedic mistreatment of the books. Although the play sometimes cover
a little bit of the plot, Hermione is only mentioned once, most of the major
adult characters don’t appear (including McGonagall, my favorite witch) and
about 2900 of the 3000 pages of Harry Potter plot seem to be lost. Basically,
if you are looking for a Harry Potter summary, this is not the place to find
it. If you are looking for an outrageous good time, see this show now!!