Potted Potter: A hilarious, whimsical two-man show

Even if you haven’t read any of the Harry Potter books, Potted Potter-The Unauthorized Harry Experience, will have you in fits of laughter over this delightful two-man show.

Now playing at Toronto’s Panasonic Theatre, this hilarious parody show attempts to cover all seven Harry Potter books in 70 minutes.

But how might a show with only two stars accomplish all of this?

Formed in 2006 by Brits Dan Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, the concept is simple.

Turner plays the title role of Harry Potter while Clarkson on the other hand, plays all the other characters.  And yes, that’s Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Professor Snape and Lord  Voldemort included.

While embarking on the ultimate challenge of recreating J.K Rowling’s much-loved series, the duo achieve this with the help of a countless number of costumes, a fun disco song, silly props and a ridiculous Quidditch match among the audience.

Intense Potterheads may first cringe that not all of their favourite moments from the books will be included.

But considering that this is a parody, you’ll soon be laughing uncontrollably over this absurd and hysterically-crafted show.

The high point of the play is undoubtedly the Quidditch match where the audience is divided in half to represent two teams:  rival houses Gryffindor and Slytherin.

While each side of the crowd tries to score on the other team’s net, Turner (who plays Harry Potter 99 per cent of the time) comes out as The Golden Snitch.  The costume is so outrageously funny, that spectators will forget that they’re still competing against each other.

But in the end, it doesn’t matter who wins as audience participation and  Turner and Clarkson’s witty script  is what makes this show work.

For Harry Potter fans like Laura Zizek,  she saw the show because  she thought it would be an amusing and interesting  contrast to her favourite novels.

“What made it so funny was how the two actors would break out of character and interact with the audience,” she said, noting that her favourite parts were the Quidditch match and the musical number at the end.

And even though the play doesn’t follow the books completely, Zizek said she had a great time.

“It exceeded my expectations. I had a smile on my face the whole time and laughed throughout the play.”

And while it may not include flying Dementors, fire-breathing dragons or talking house elves, Potted Potter is without doubt, a charming show for everyone.

Whether you’re a fan or not, it will still have the whole crowd falling into hysterics.

(This review was published in the March 2012 issue of the Ryerson Free Press)

10/10

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