Friday, December 29, 2017

Potted Potter is hilarious!



We got a chance to see Potted Potter the week before Christmas, and I've been meaning to write about it.   The show is hilarious, and well worth seeing, especially if you are a fan of Harry Potter.

As you might remember from our London sojourn we are big Harry Potter fans.

 If you are not a fan-boy or girl, you will still have a good time, as long as you know a little bit about Harry Potter.  I think even if you know absolutely nothing about Harry Potter, you will think it's funny, but you will have a really weird idea about what's going on in the book.

The show is delightful and fun and goofy.  There are two characters in the show Dan and Jeff.  At the start of the show Jeff is reading one of the books attentively on the stage, and Dan is endeavoring to shake everybody's hand in the audience. Once the show actually begins, it becomes clear that Jeff's mission is to tell the audience the story of the books, and Dan is along as Jeff's more trouble than he's worth helper.   Along the way, Jeff is bound for disappointment, as Dan manages to "help" in ways that frustrate Jeff no end, and like any good clown show, the difference between what is aimed for and what is achieved is where a lot of the comedy comes in.

Dan and Jeff have a great working chemistry.  Jeff hits just the right tones as an earnest fan wanting to share his love, and Dan manages to be stupid, cunning, charming, deceitful, mischievous, and innocent all at once.   Dan does most of the heavy lifting in the comedy department, but without Jeff, it would not be meaningful or significant.  They play well off of each other, and they clearly improvise at moments (as there were several moments where the actors started laughing and cmomenting on their improvisations.  It's all in good fun, and they work very smoothly together.

Dan in the pre-show shaking everybody's hand.  Here he holds an invisible wand.
Here my son and I pose in front of the marquee also holding invisible wands.  He also brought his Gryffindor robes,
but declined to wear them in the theatre.  Probably wise.
The show started as a street show and has since progressed to the stage.   There are props, and while they are kind of goofy and fun, but they are mostly inconsequential.  There is a large toy train that represents the Hogwarts Express, and while it's nice they have it, it's really inconsequential.  The real story and the real comedy is between Jeff and Dave and of course the cast of characters that they present.   I don't want to spoil the jokes, but my son (who is a big fan of Harry Potter) was laughing out loud for a good 50 out of the 80 minutes of the show (the show is 80 minutes long-- 10 minutes or so of prologue, followed by 70 minutes of sending J.K. Rowlings to her grave prematurely and making her roll around in it.)

Here's a promo video from their run 2 years ago in Chicago in 2015.  As far as I can tell, the show hasn't changed appreciably.  (Dan is the one in the wigs)  This definitely doesn't give away a lot, and shows some great interaction between Dan and Jeff!



I do have a small warning:  if you are a superfan of the books/movies, it's possible for you to take Umbrage with some of the choices here.  Although they do a pretty good job of mentioning major plot points of the books, they miss whole parts, of which Dolores Umbrage is one.  (See what I did there?) They also don't talk about the centaurs, Peter Pettigrew is mentioned once, Hagrid is given short shrift, and a bunch of other characters (poor Buckbeak) are not even mentioned once.  In fact, what they don't talk about in the show probably outnumbers what they do talk about!  Ultimately however, none of that matters.  The joy and fun of working together and making the audience laugh uprariously trumps any minor imperfections.

Tickets are on sale now through January 21 when it closes.  (Also please note, that the last couple of weeks there are only weekend shows, so see it early!)  Tickets start at $25.  The show is playing at the Broadway Playhouse in dowtownn Chicago.

Find out more at http://www.broadwayinchicago.com/show/potted-potter-2017/

or  http://www.pottedpotter.com/