Hogwarts’ Primer Proffered in Potted Potter at Broadway Playhouse

Potted Potter: The Unauthorised Harry Experience is a non-stop, 70-minute two-hander taking the piss out of Muggle culture by stream-rolling through all seven of J.K. Rowling’s books. The high-energy, cheap jokes make a modern-day Panto, created and performed by two-time Olivier Award-nominated Brits, Daniel Clarkson (the short one, primarily portraying the bespectacled protagonist) and Jefferson Turner (the tall one, playing the rest, including Ron Weasley, the “Ginger Ninja,” and Hermione Granger, “returning from a UN speech about women”). They wear Potter 1 and Potter 2 T-shirts, like Seuss’s Thing 1 and Thing 2. The show’s good for ages 6 and up, yet the rapid-fire show isn’t consistently for kids (there’s a 50 Shades of Grey joke), and not substantive enough for Cosplay adults, although a rousing game of real-life Quidditch is attempted, where the cute young Gryffindor and Slytherin volunteer seekers “genuinely overpowered” the Golden Snitch actor. The set is simple pieces, including a central Narnian wardrobe, as the books are plucked from the bookshelf: Sorcerer’s (not philosopher’s) Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and the oft-referenced Deathly Hallows. The performers have fun, and have an easy connection from touring together for so long (all over the UK and much of the Americas). Yet this can be a liability as “improvised” jokes feel weary, inside and overused—a few land, such as “the real victim here is theater.” Some Trump shaming works too – “What did you DO, America? We remember when Trump was a joke. And at least Voldemort respects women.” Potted Potter has been extended and runs through February 25, offering lots of matinee choices, at Broadway Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut. All patrons, regardless of age, must have a ticket 
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Karin McKie

Karin McKie is a Chicago freelance writer, cultural factotum and activism concierge. She jams econo.