‘Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience’ was hysterical.
Harry Potter and two dynamic performers hilariously parodying all seven books within 70 minutes? SK Entertainment and Potted Production’s made for one enthralling evening, as audiences were left spell-bound by ‘Potted Potter: The Unauthorised Harry Experience’ at The Events Centre, Caloundra.
Filled to the cauldron’s brim with pop culture jokes, physical comedy, and 3D Quidditch, this is one magical show for witches, wizards and muggles of all ages; Potterhead or not.
Created by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, ‘Potted Potter: The Unauthorised Harry Experience’ began back in 2005 originally as a five-minute skit that reviewed what had happened in Harry Potter so far. The show has since evolved into a two man touring, multi award-winning global sensation. From Canada, USA, UK (where it was created) and Australia, the show has truly stood the test of time, all while still maintaining its original off the cuff, casual yet chaotic charm.
Presented by two actors: Jeff (Jefferson Turner), one of the show’s creators and a self-proclaimed Harry Potter fan who is hoping to turn the show into a grand spectacle featuring twenty of West Ends finest actors, and Joe (Joseph Maudsley) the less hardcore Potterhead who had differing plans as to where the budget should be spent. This leaves the two men to tell Potter’s story. Which they do. With vigour.
The duo, without ever having time to take a breath, transported Caloundra into the world of Hogwarts through storytelling, slapstick, song, and one all mighty game of Quidditch. Jeff and Joe contained all the best elements of classic comedy duos – Jeff’s earnest attempts at story telling colliding with Joe’s chaotic antics created 70 minutes of consistent side-splitting laughter. The duo vibed of each other’s energy exceptionally well and without ever falling flat. They produced jokes that would crack up both the youngest fans, and their parents.
The minimal set design by Simon Scullion only heightened the hilarity of the show and its light and silly nature. It contained a toy train to represent the Hogwarts Express, a wardrobe as a nod to ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’, and a coffin… because Harry Potter’s creepy, right? The actors kept hidden an abundance of extra props, wigs and costumes (the highest commendation has to go to the exceptional Golden Snitch attire) to whip out throughout the show, especially for Joe who expertly impersonated almost every character within the Potter universe.
Lighting design by Tim Mascall and composer Phil Innes mimicked the style of the show. One scene involves Harry Potter (Jeff) and Voldemort (Joe) squaring off in a wrestling match whilst strobe lights of all different colours flash around the stage. This is also followed up with a Potter parodied rendition of ‘I Will Survive’ as a disco ball scatters colour throughout the space. These lighting and sound choices enhanced the genuine storytelling the performers (mainly Jeff) were trying to convey. Innes composed a classical motif that played when the performers began reading from each of the seven books to set the tone before chaos ensued. Soft lighting was also utilised to create this atmosphere. The predictability of this descent into madness for each of the stories had the audience eager to see where the book, and show, would end up.
Despite only two players on stage, Richard Hurst and resident director Lizzie Tollemache have the difficult job of making sure the show doesn’t lose the audience within its chaos. Nevertheless, ‘Potted Potter: The Unauthorised Harry Experience’ never ran away with itself and it was obvious the performers were very audience-centric. They read the vibe of the room and had enough comedic timing to maximise laughs.
While ‘Potted Potter: The Unauthorised Harry Experience’ does not delve deeply into the intricacies of the Potter universe or hold any deep moral at its core, it is 70 minutes of side -splitting fun which is truly what the world needs right now. To quote Albus Dumbledore, “happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
‘Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience’ continues its tour across Australia flying to Adelaide, Sydney, Newcastle, Perth and back to Brisbane for Tuesday, 10 to Sunday, 15 May 2022 at QPAC. You can find tickets for all tour dates at the ‘Potted Potter’ website.