Parody (par’ a di) n. an imitation of a poem, song, etc. where the style is the same but the theme ludicrously different; a feeble imitation; v.t. to write a parody of; to burlesque in verse…thus sayeth Master Webster.
The key word here is ‘ludicrously different’ and this is definitely the definition of “Potted Potter” now playing at the Ohio Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. In a word it is silly…silly…silly and that is a good thing. Any show that attracts an audience wearing all manner of Hogwarts gear and sporting the requisite lightning bolt scar on their forehead is bound to be a hoot, and those were just the adults. The kids came in all manner of Hogwarts regalia as well.
“Potted Potter” began life in 2005 as a five-minute street show that recapped the plots of the first five Harry Potter books. It was performed at various British bookstores as entertainment for those waiting in line for the midnight release of the sixth book. In 2006 it was expanded to one hour and went on the road. While touring, the final and seventh book of the Harry Potter series was released and the show was expanded to roughly 75 minutes (more or less). The original writers and creators (Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner eventually turned over the tour of the show to David Ahmad and John Helier. The American tour now stars James Percy and Delme Thomas.
Using all manner of wigs, hats and costume and sparing all expense as far as stage props, the dynamic duo breezes by the entire seven volumes with time to spare. Fact is, most in the crowd wished that the show had not come to an end, it was just that good. Some of the high points (and there are really too many to mention) is the marking of “Harry” for easy identification by the audience, the Weasly family represented by a bright orange wig including little Annie Weasly (Delme on his knee singing “Tomorrow…Tomorrow…I luv ya tomorrow”, the Quidich match which pitted members of the audience (Slitherins and Griffindorfs) against each other and lastly the disco scene where Harry and Voldemort sing “I Will Survive” as a disco ball and bright spots flood the theater with light.
For all the fans of Harry Potter (and I figure there are probably a few of you out there), this is great fun entertainment for the entire family. It is a safe and funny show to take the children to see without fear of bad language or inappropriate behavior. It is a show that is truly full of laughter and fun with a healthy poke at what some consider a sacred institution (the Harry Potter book series). Come expecting to laugh and have a great time. This show will put a spell on you.
James Percy and Delme Thomas are two of the most unlikely Potter ambassadors that you will ever find. Their hilarious romp through the seven volumes will have you in tears from laughing. Using outlandish props they manage to actually tell a pretty good condensed version of the series as time flies by faster than a Nimbus 2000 broom. Extra credit goes to James who in spite of a malfunctioning mike was still able to project his voice to the farthest reaches of the theater.
I only have two small complaints about the show. For those who got to their seats early we were forced to listen to a tinny rather badly orchestrated background song that incessantly kept repeating itself over and over and over again to the point of nausea. The other minor gripe was the extensive use of stage smoke that spilled out into the audience and caused quite a bit of itchy eyes and scratchy throats. A more discriminate use of that prop would have made for a more comfortable evening.
Shooting From The Lip (My Last Words): Potted Potter has just four more shows until it climbs on its broom and flies to its next venue. This is sure to be a sellout. Tickets could get scarcer then dragon teeth and you may need to use some magic of your own to snag a ticket.
Potted Potter return to PlayhouseSquare’s Ohio Theatre for four more performances on October 26 & 27, 2013 with times of 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. both days. The Show is back by popular demand following a sold-out engagement at PlayhouseSquare in January 2013 and record breaking runs at New York's Little Shubert Theater and Chicago's Broadway Playhouse.
Tickets are on sale now starting at just $10 Smart Seats through playhousesquare.org, 216-241-6000 and the PlayhouseSquare Ticket Office.
PlayhouseSquare is a world-class, not-for-profit performing arts center, arts education champion and downtown developer.