Highly Recommended ***** “Potted Potter: The unauthorized Harry Experience – A Parody by Dan and Jeff” is absolutely hilarious. I laughed so hard my cheeks hurt! It doesn’t matter if you’ve read the Harry Potter books or not, Dan and Jeff will put you smack in the middle of the Hogwarts story – sometimes literally! “Potted Potter” is a terrific family friendly holiday option. Your kids will love it – so will you! I give “Potted Potter” 4 Spotlights.
According to goofy Jeff (Jefferson Turner), who designed the set and assembled all the props for “Potted Potter”, nerdy Dan knows absolutely everything there is to know about Harry Potter. Jeff has gone to great trouble to assemble a set – the dark forest (a palm tree on the beach), a coffin, a wardrobe and a train – along with all the props Dan might need to get started “potting” (a British phrase for condensing) all seven Harry Potter books into one short show.
As Dan introduces the characters in the first book, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”, Jeff pops out from behind the wardrobe wearing a different wig – orange for Ron – or hat – a boater with pigtails for Hermione. Dan, playing Harry, dons a pair of glasses, while Jeff uses a marker to add a scar (actually the word Harry) to his forehead. He who shall not be named – aka Voldemort – gets red horns!
One of the funniest parts of the show was the Quidditch game. Jeff divide the audience in half, designating one side Griffindor and the other Slitherin. He pointed out the goals – neon green circles in the balconies overlooking the stage – and gave the audience a beach ball and instructions to bat the ball through the opposite team’s goal. Let it be noted that the audience tried its collective best, but the beach ball tended to bounce in odd directions.
Inviting two volunteers from the audience, a boy and a girl, up on stage, Jeff gave them each an oversized wizard’s hat. They were the seekers, one for Griffindor and the other for Slitherin. Dan, wearing a ridiculous yellow costume, was the Snitch. The kids chased the Snitch around the stage until one of them caught him and pulled him down. Jeff declared Griffindor the winners, pointing out that Slitherin never had a chance!
When one book turns up missing (the replacement book on the shelf has a silver gray tie on the cover), Jeff sums up the missing book using a handy whiteboard concealed in the wardrobe. Full of silly songs and pop references, “Potted Potter” is fresh and up-to-date. Be sure and listen well, some of the funniest lines are the throwaway asides.
“Potted Potter” runs through January 3rd at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 East Chestnut, Chicago. Performances are Tuesdays through Fridays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00 and 4:00. Check www.broadwayinchicago.com for times and dates of performances during the holidays. Running time is 80 minutes, no intermission. Tickets range from $39-$69. Parking at a reduced rate is available in the Water Tower Place garage. Get a validation card from any usher. FYI (800) 775-2000, www.ticketmaster.com or www.broadwayinchicago.com.
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