Written and performed by Daniel Clarkson
Though starting slow, show ends on evil-squashing, fun-loving high note
|Starvox Entertainment and Potted Productions i/a/w Broadway in Chicago presents|
Review by Katy Walsh
Harry Potter is a kid wizard. He goes to Hogwarts School. He plays Quidditch. His destiny is to battle an evil sorcerer named Voldemort. His schoolmaster, Dumbledore provides guidance. His friends, Hermione and Ron help too. These are the essential fictional facts from J.K. Rowling’s classic seven “Harry Potter” book series. The best selling novels turned blockbuster movies get abbreviated in this zany lampoon. Potted Potter is a family-style, vaudevillian, Harry spectacle.
I’m a big fan of Harry Potter. I’ve read all the books and seen all the movies. I was geeked out about this show’s potential for a Potter marathon in seventy minutes. Initially, I was disappointed. The show starts out with a sketch bit where Jefferson Turner berates Daniel Clarkson for not having read the books. Clarkson’s muggle ignorance is amplified as his scenery choices are revealed. The oversize props don’t have anything to do with the magical world of Harry Potter. Dang! I felt like a Trekkie who goes to a convention and nobody is speaking Klingon.
Turner and Clarkson meander through the first few books with not much substance but plenty of energy. Turner is straight man to Clarkson’s buffoonery. They know how to play to a crowd because the audience eats up the schtick. The show even turns interactive with a beach ball-based Quidditch match. It’s cute, but for a Harry Potter diehard, I’m left waiting at Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross station in London. Eventually around book 4 or 5, Turner and Clarkson start actually going by the book. Turner narrates the overview. And Clarkson hilariously plays all the characters. The finale is an evil-squashing, fun-loving climax to the song “I Will Survive.”
Potted Potter is more madcap than magic. These wack-a-doodles from London captivated the kids and their families. Not only do you not need to be a Harry Potter fanatic to enjoy the show, it probably adds to the amusement if you’re not. Me? I need a little more Hermione and Ron in my Harry experience. I’ll probably just sip on some butter beer and rewatch one of the DVDs.
Potted Potter continues through December 16th at Broadway Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut (map), with performances Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays at 7:30pm; Wednesdays at 2pm and 7:30pm; Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm; Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are $40-$85, and are available by phone (800-775-2000) or online through TicketMaster.com (check for half-price tickets at Goldstar.com). More information at BroadwayInChicago.com. (Running time: 70 minutes, no intermission)
Photos by Carol Rosegg
behind the scenes
3words: An avid fan of Harry’s books and movies, Shawn describes PP with ‘it was okay.’