Review: Potted Potter (Broadway in Chicago, 2017)

| December 17, 2017

Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner star in Potted Potter, Broadway in Chicago Broadway Playhouse 2            
      

  

Potted Potter

Written and Performed by
    Daniel Clarkson & Jefferson Turner
Broadway Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut (map)
thru Feb 25  |  tix: $25-$70  |  more info   
      
Check for half-price tickets   
     


  
Now extended thru February 25!

  

So delightfully funny your cheeks will hurt from smiling & giggling

  

Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner star in Potted Potter, Broadway in Chicago Broadway Playhouse 4

    
Broadway in Chicago presents
    
Potted Potter

Review by Lauren Whalen

“Potted” means condensed. “Potter,” at least in this case, means Harry Potter, a child wizard and the center of seven books that propelled J.K. Rowling from broke schoolteacher to wealthy media sensation whose work defined a generation. Even today, almost two decades after the release of the first book, Harry Potter and the colorful cast of characters are the subject of academic papers, spinoff film franchises and countless Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner star in Potted Potter, Broadway in Chicago Broadway Playhouse 2Internet memes. Comedians Dan and Jeff (Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner) come through Chicago annually with Potted Potter, their 80-minute parody of the iconic fantasy book series that’s tons of fun for Potter superfans and newbies alike, bringing out the excited, imaginative kid in all of us.

The seven Harry Potter books are quite thick, involving an entire magical universe accessible by a very special, very specific train. Undeterred, Dan and Jeff set out to present the entire series in less than an hour and a half, using only a few scattered set pieces, a handful of wigs and props, and their own physical humor. Part scripted show and part improv, Potted Potter incorporates the magical sport of Quidditch (Dan’s very favorite), black-framed glasses akin to Harry’s iconic pair, and plenty of audience interaction. Will the dynamic duo play Quidditch as much as Dan wants (and Dan wants to play Quidditch a lot)? Will Jeff convince Dan to read the final book in the series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”? There’s only one way to find out – through an 80-minute theatrical rollercoaster.

Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner star in Potted Potter, Broadway in Chicago Broadway Playhouse 3

Acclaimed around the globe, Dan and Jeff are best known for their “Potted” series, which includes Potted Pirates, Potted Panto and Potted Sherlock. Their energy is contagious, their rapport and comfort with one another, undeniable. Shows with only two performers are difficult, requiring copious physical and mental capacity and an implicit trust in one’s performing partner. Dan and Jeff’s stamina is endless, as they cycle through the many characters, plot twists and big reveals of the vast Harry Potter universe. Perhaps most notable is the impeccable balance they strike between parody and homage. No one wants to see their all-time favorite book series skewered by cynical or worse, snobby writers and performers. Dan and Jeff stay away from that, opting instead for gentle, kid-friendly humor, heavy on both physical comedy and intelligent joking. In the fifth season of Potted Potter’s Chicago residency, its team ramps up the silliness while interjecting the occasional, lightly political joke about the state of America in the Trump era. (Because really, how could they not?)

On the night of Potted Potter’s Chicago opening, Dan and Jeff also had to deal with an unexpected, rather unpleasant surprise. Upon pulling two volunteers out of the audience for a “Quidditch tournament,” the team’s improv skills went into full effect once one of the children turned violent and out of control. Dan and Jeff, professionals to the end, handled the situation with their trademark humor and made the best of a bad situation. Once the children exited the stage, it was funny business as usual, and drove home Dan and Jeff’s skill, originality and ability to roll with the (literal) punches. Just as in 2015, when I first reviewed Potted Potter, the show is so delightful my cheeks hurt from smiling and giggling for 80 straight minutes.

  
Rating: ★★★½
  

Potted Potter continues through January 7th January 21 February 25th at Broadway Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut (map).  Tickets are $25-$70, and are available by phone (800-775-2000) or online through Ticketmaster.com (check for availability of half-price tickets). See PottedPotter.com  or BroadwayinChicago.com for more info. (Running time: 80 minutes, no intermission)

Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner star in Potted Potter, Broadway in Chicago Broadway Playhouse 5


  

artists

cast

Daniel Clarkson, Jefferson Turner

Alternate Performers: Scott Hoatson, Brendan Murphy

behind the scenes

Richard Hurst (director, additional material), Simon Scullion (set design), Tim Mascall (lighting design), Phil Innes (original music), Samuel Clarkson, Shannon Hawes, Becca Levy (company stage managers), Seabright Productions, Ltd. (UK general management), Starvox Entertainment (general management). Hanna Berrigan (associate director)

Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner star in Potted Potter, Broadway in Chicago Broadway Playhouse 1

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Category: 2017 Reviews, Broadway in Chicago, Broadway Playhouse, Extensions-Remounts, Lauren Whalen, National Tours, Parody, Video, YouTube

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