Review: POTTED POTTER at Orpheum Theater

The Unauthorized Harry Experience, A Parody by Dan and Jeff

By: Feb. 19, 2022
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Review: POTTED POTTER at Orpheum Theater

Potted Potter at the Orpheum is a rowdy rollercoaster ride of inside jokes and sight gags, broad physical humor and a little audience participation sprinkled in. The audience assembled were a mix of ages with lots of folks in their 30's without kids.

This is where I started doing the math on who the average Harry Potter fan was. I personally recall reading these books some 20 years ago. I also remember that adults and children alike were mesmerized by this series, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised to be seeing women in their 30's sporting stylish Harry Potter headbands. It was endearing to see muggle families with little wizards in their costumes in the lobby before the show.

The set was not much to look at as we waited for the show to begin, but is comically revealed in the opening moments. The preshow music, "on a loop" seemed to be playing the same 150 bars of dramatic music loud enough that I had regrets about arriving early. I asked my companion, a 13 year old Potter fan, if she liked the music, and she said "it sounded cool when we got in here." Note to future audiences, go ahead and stand in that long line for the snack bar, popcorn or Skittles would have been a welcome distraction during the wait for the show to start.

Once the show begins, it's like a "shotgun start" with well-executed costume changes and sight gags and a duo of talented and energetic performers taking the audience on that rollercoaster ride with finesse and authentic joy. Daniel Clarkson, one of the co-creators and performers, has mastered the timing of sight gags and broad physical movements on stage and appears to be the steam engine that moves the parody of seven Harry Potter novels along this 70 minute journey. Scott Hoatson, the performer portraying Harry through the bulk of the show, had a charismatic energy, a sparkle in his eyes, and a joyful essence that made me want to smuggle him out of the theater in a Cloak of Invisibility to take home.

The team of Dan and Scott had the audience whipped into a frothy excitement with their antics and calls for audience participation. The people in the front row looked like they were having the time of their lives as Daniel picks on one of them as a "Hufflepuff". My companion explained to me before the show that there is a website you can take a test on to determine what house at Hogwarts you would be in. Without access to the sorting hat, the rest of us have to resort to the world wide web, where I discover I belong in Gryffindor.

If you enjoyed the Harry Potter series, or have a fan in your family for all things "Potter" you will be delighted to attend this somewhat irreverent pep rally of fandom for the characters and inside jokes. There's something for everyone, even those of us who didn't get through all seven novels. I admit that I got a little lost on the storylines, but they blow through it pretty fast, and the real fun is in anticipating what these two goofs will come up with next on stage.

Potted Potter plays through Sunday at the Orpheum Theater, and judging from the audience reaction on Friday evening, the "word of mouth" will be strong, so get your tickets now.