Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BWW Review: POTTED POTTER at Shakespeare Theatre Company

BWW Review: POTTED POTTER  at Shakespeare Theatre Company

Have you ever seen someone try to explain the Harry Potter series with very little time and resources to someone who has never read the books? Potted Potter is a little like that. But instead of walking away feeling frustrated, you leave the theater giggling.

Created, written, and performed by Englishman Daniel Clarkson (also Associate Director) and Jefferson Turner, Potted Potter began life as a five-minute street show commissioned to entertain fans waiting in line for the midnight release of the sixth book in 2005. It's a credit to Clarkson and Turner's ingenuity that after 13 years on the stage Potted Potter still feels unrehearsed and relevant.

Today's Potted Potter condenses all seven Harry Potter books into one 70-minute performance. Part slapstick, part improvisational comedy, and part British panto, Potted Potter is tongue-in-cheek British satirical humor at its very best.

Dan (Clarkson), an unflappably glee-filled git, may or may not (but definitely not) have read all the books. And, oh yeah, he spent all the money set aside for actors and the set on a dragon for Book Four. Scott (Scott Hoatson), the self-styled Harry Potter expert and "close, personal friend of J.K. Rowling," reserves for himself the role of boy wizard. This leaves Dan, a man who has already proven that he knows nothing about Harry Potter, to play every other role.

Dan's Harry Potter "set" resembles nothing so much as the living room of a frat boy trying to raise a toddler. Most of his props turn out to be stuffed animals. Bad wigs worn badly and intentionally offensive accents are used to distinguish between characters. Potted Potter's special brand of childish humor successfully appeals to both children and adults.

In a nod to DC's liberal leanings, Dan and Scott crack the obligatory joke about Donald Trump. Throughout the performance, our intrepid duo shrug off a contingent of very vocal eight year-old hecklers. The highlight of the night is watching two small children wrestle a full grown man, dressed as a golden snitch, to the ground. Needless to say, Potted Potter is kid-friendly. In fact, it may be the comedians who need to be shielded from the children!

Clarkson and Turner's Potted Potter refuses to take itself seriously, so neither should you. It may in no way resemble the iconic wizarding world of Harry Potter that we know and love, but in their dedication to filling the world with joy they find common ground.

Potted Potter's production team is comprised of Director Richard Hurst, Associate Director Hanna Berrigan, Set Designer Simon Scullion, and Lighting Designer Tim Mascall, with music by Phil Iness.

POTTED POTTER runs through April 22, 2018 at the Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004. For tickets call (202) 547-1122 or click here.

Running Time: Approximately 70 minutes, no intermission

Advisory: Strobe lights, recommended for ages six to Dumbledore

Photo caption: Jefferson Turner and Daniel Clarkson in Potted Potter. Photo courtesy of Potted Potter

Related Articles View More Washington, DC Stories   Shows

From This Author Jenny Minich