Wednesday, September 19, 2012

REVIEW: Potted Potter - The Unauthorized Harry Experience

HKAPA Drama Theatre, Tuesday September 18

I was invited to join HKELD (pronounced 'heckled') and this is my first review for this new specialist online webzine. The site is aimed at English speakers and it is dedicated to "promoting what’s on, what’s good and where things are in Hong Kong’s developing performing arts scene."

What started out as a five-minute street show recapping the plot of the first five Potter books, to lines of avid fans waiting for the midnight release of the sixth book in 2005 is now a full flown 70-minute show and was nominated as Best Entertainment & Family Show in the 2012 Olivier Awards.

The promo brochure advertises, "all seven Harry Potter books in seventy hilarious minutes!” Well... not really... well except for the hilarious part.

To read the rest of my review in HKELD, click HERE.


“All seven Harry Potter books in seventy hilarious minutes!” says the ad. Well that was not the case, except the hilarious part.

In the tradition of shows like The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), The Complete History of America (abridged) and The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged), all of which have been performed in Hong Kong. Potted Potter attempted to tell the story of all seven Harry Potter books in a series of goofy comedy sketches. This time, however, it came in the form of an eager expert (performed by Gary Trainor) trying to present the highlights of the books while a wicked faker (performed by Jesse Briton) sabotages his each and every effort.

This parody, written and created by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, started with Briton not getting the right set and the 20 finest actors needed to play the more than 300 characters in J.K. Rowling's books. In lieu of this, the audience would just have to deal with Briton’s silly antics as he tries to be everything and everybody, while Trainor gets cross and indignant.

The silliness factor in the show was off the charts. It was not a show of sophisticated wit or intelligent satire. For the adults, it was “interesting” at best. For the kids however, judging from their loud and boisterous laughter, it must be hilarious!

The highlight of the show must be the Quidditch, the competitive game played by the rival factions Gryffindor and Slytherin. In this case, the audience was divided into two competing teams as they battle out a beach ball. For a moment, the kids were able to release some of their pent-up energy to good effect. For a moment, the scene reminded me of Russian clown Slava Polunin’s Snowshow that was presented in 1997 in Hong Kong to mediocre effect.

Overall, it was a children’s show. Bring your or somebody else’s kid to it and hopefully, you will be blissfully content to see them laugh so heartily.

Potted Potter is playing at the HKAPA, Drama Theatre in Wanchai September 18th-30th at various showtimes.

Potted Potter - The Unauthorized Harry Experience
A Parody by Dan and Jeff
Produced by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, Potted Productions and ABA Productions

Creative Team:
Daniel Clarkson, writer/creator
Jefferson Turner, writer/creator
Richard Hurst, director
Simon Scullion, set designer
Tim Mascall, lighting designer

Jesse Briton
Gary Trainor

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