Theatre: Potted Potter – Her Majesty’s until Nov 17th – 2.5K

By Miriam Keane

There seems to have been a surge in stage shows purporting to summarise entire book/film series in a short timeframe, presumably in some amusing fashion (think The Complete Works of Shakespeare: Abridged or One Man Star Wars).  The series of Harry Potter books, and subsequent film adaptations, were a genuine world-wide phenomenon in terms of popularity and obsession. It is hardly surprising then, that JK Rowling’s stories have been given this treatment by some pop-culture savvy performers who, while probably holding some sort of candle for the books themselves, no doubt also appreciated the immense marketability of such a concept.

Original writer/performers Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner have been replaced in this current production by Jesse Briton and Gary Trainor as the energetic, ridiculous duo, whose clashing personalities and egos wreak havoc as they wend their way through the series. Both meet the demands of the show, with Briton in particular working admirably to switch between many different characters. However, the talents of these two men are not enough to lift this show above the level of average to good entertainment.

While it was a generally fun experience, it was all the same disappointing. Potted Potter played Adelaide previously at the 2009 Fringe, as well as various comedy festivals, both in Australia and internationally, and this is connected to its major problem – it feels like a Fringe show. With a set and props specifically designed to be disappointing, and so much resting on the energy and silliness of the performers, it would be more suited to a tent in the Garden of Unearthly Delights – playing to either rooms full of late-night drunken idiots or afternoon family crowds for the cost of a couple of beers, rather than the theatrical beauty and matching price-tag of Her Majesty’s.

While there has been a good deal of debate about whether the Harry Potter series were actually children’s books or just books that happened to feature children, there is no doubt that this show will appeal most to the younger fans. Those in the older age group of the audience were likely left somewhat disappointed by the lack of wit involved in, and predictability of, the majority of the jokes. The under 12s lapped them up.

This is a fun, family friendly show but lacks any real ingenuity. However, with the popularity of Harry Potter not likely to dissipate any time soon, and new fans getting hooked on the series all the time, it will no doubt continue to attract an audience for years to come.

Kryztoff rating: 2.5K

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