Review Roundup: POTTED POTTER in Manila
Manila, Philippines, September 2, 2012 - How time flies! "Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience," a hit parody, starring British sitcom actors Gary Trainor and Jesse Briton, that condenses all seven "Harry Potter" books in 70 minutes, which opened last Tuesday, is closing today, September 2 at Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza in Makati City. So hurry up and catch the last two trains to "Hogwarts" at 5 and 7 p.m.
Penned by Laurence Olivier Award nominees Dan Clarkson and Jeff Turner, "Potted Potter" was originally conceived as a five-minute sketch comedy show meant to entertain Potterheads waiting in line for the release of the sixth book, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," at a London bookshop in 2005; the show has been expanded into a full-length theatrical production that played to sold-out audiences in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States since then.
Trainor, Briton, together with the "Potted Potter" production crew, will play next in Australia and in South Africa.
In the meantime, below are review excerpts that Filipino theater critics have bestowed upon "Potted Potter."
Blooey Singson, ABS-CBNNews.com: Easily one of the highlights of the show, the two men lead the audience in a spirited game of (what else?) Quidditch, the official wizarding sport. The sporting event involves Seekers chosen from the crowd, grueling competition between two houses (ours was classic Gryffindor vs. Slytherin), and an outrageously violent quest for the Golden Snitch.
The dialogue is peppered with jokes that go beyond the Potterverse, as Trainor and Briton draw on references to Broadway musicals (Briton breaking out into "Defying Gravity" from "Wicked"), film (Briton's Hagrid accent sounding like "Shrek," a dig at the two-part "HP 7"), and other bestselling book series ("Narnia," "Lord of the Rings," "Twilight" and "Fifty Shades of Grey"). There is even a dash of local color, with Boracay making an appearance on set, and a candid reference to "The Phantom of the Opera" running on the other side of town. Each book is told in a different way, going from mere re-telling to an all-out variety show.
The spontaneity of the duo makes a delightful foil to the side-splitting dialogue. The two actors are prone to chortling upon successfully delivering an off-the-cuff joke, sometimes even reeling from the mirth, extending the humor for the audience. They are also quick to pick up on the audience's response, making light of rare moments whenever a joke falls flat, and their self-deprecation rendering the audience in stitches.
Jovan Cerda, The Philippine Star: Capturing the fancy of the Pinoy audience, the two actors sprinkle their performance with references to Filipino culture, while constantly engaging the audience through impromptu conversations and games that nearly catch everyone off-guard.
Regardless if one is a hardcore fanatic of the series or unable to know the difference between a Horcrux or a Hufflepuff, "Potted Potter" is an enjoyable experience that brings back the magic of the books in a refreshing and hilarious take.
M.C. Jose, ClickTheCity.com: came into this with high expectations; reviews and statistics revealed that this parody has become some sort of a phenomenon in cities that its cast and crew have graced. I was more than prepared to enjoy myself and fall in love with the Potterverse all over again. I was not prepared to clutch at my stomach due to laughing so hard and to go home fighting the overwhelming temptation to see the show one more time.
Photos by Concertus Manila, "Potted Potter" Manila