Even Harry-haters will enjoy ‘Potted Potter’
BOSTON — “Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience,” now on the mainstage of the Paramount Theatre through Oct. 6, promises to sum up all seven of the Harry Potter books in about 70 madcap minutes.
Former BBC Television hosts Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner take on the challenge of condensing, or “potting” all seven Harry Potter books, using only costume changes, brilliant songs, ridiculous props and a generous helping of Hogwarts magic.
It’s inspired silliness, part Monty Python, part Benny Hill, and all cheeky British humor.
In its format, it owes much to the old British music hall revue — you get the feeling Clarkson and Turner would have been at home in any era.
Yes, of course , it’s all about Harry Potter, but then again, it isn’t. It’s pratfalls, one-liners and local references that go sailing over the heads of the kids in the audience and other bits aimed directly at the kids.
There’s a madcap game of Quidditch, with audience participation according to Clarkson and Turner’s unique set of rules, which divides the audience into two competing teams.
Clarkson and Turner have much different roles — I would informally peg Clarkson as Lou Costello and Turner as Bud Abbott, in terms of being the comic and more or less the straight man.
There are maniacal costume changes, props, magic wands, funny hats and wigs.
All of your favorite characters will show up at some point — Clarkson is a hilarious Ron Weasley — presented by Clarkson and Turner in their own unique takes on what made the Potter books — and, by extension, the movies — so popular.
Two of the performers’ entertainments, “Potted Potter” and “Potted Panto” have been nominated for prestigious Olivier Awards in London, and “Potted Potter” has done well off-Broadway and on tour.
You don’t have to be a Potter scholar to enjoy “Potted Potter.” You just have to have a sense of humor.