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Accio Laughter

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Potted Potter final

Not a minute went by without laughter from the audience during “Potted Potter,” which performed two sold out shows at the Edison Theatre at Washington University on Feb. 15.

The hour and a half show contained more hilarity that I can list in this review.

“Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience” stars Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, two self-proclaimed “devilishly handsome Brits,” performing the plot of all seven “Harry Potter” novels in 70 minutes. Turner, the “Potter” expert, stars as the boy wizard himself, while Clarkson, completely clueless to the book series, plays…. everyone else.

The duo’s rapport and witty banter is cheesy, but they know it, own it and make it work. A quick plot recap of a fantasy series might prove boring at worst, but the show’s enthusiasm and interactivity makes it so much more than a simple “here’s what you missed.” Clarkson and Turner were so charismatic and engaging that at one point they managed to get the audience to cheer for the death of Albus Dumbledore. (Mind you, it was a death by silly string.)

Highlights include book three, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” told (inaccurately) in just a few minutes through a PowerPoint presentation by Clarkson, as well as a finale duet between Harry and Voldemort to the tune of “I Will Survive.” No, I’m not making these up.

The star of the show, however, ended up being an overzealous little girl from the first row. When the highly anticipated Quidditch game rolled around, the right side of the audience was designated Gryffindor, the left side Slytherin. After being chosen to be the Slytherin team seeker, the little girl promtly stood up and asked, “Can I be in Gryffindor?”

How could anyone say no to that?

Some children become shy onstage with so many eyes watching, but not this girl. After Clarkson chose a young boy to be Slytherin seeker, he had to stop the Gryffindor girl, who was wandering all over the stage, in order to give the two of them instructions. Still, the girl interrupted him to announce, “I’m dressed as Hermione!”

When Turner came onstage dressed in a ridiculous Golden Snitch costume, Dan set the two young seekers on him. Little Hermione managed to grab him by the arm, and he tumbled to the ground. Gryffindor wins!

With episodes such as that changing from performance to performance, I can’t imagine the show ever getting boring.

A few inside jokes were sprinkled throughout the performance, but on the whole, the show was understandable to those in the audience whose exposure to Harry Potter was merely from pop culture.

As a self-proclaimed Potter nerd, I would have appreciated more jokes from the inside (the difference between a joke aboutHarry Potter and one that works within the framework of the series), but I understand the need to be more widely marketable.

Honestly, though, I’ll go see any show about Harry Potter. That doesn’t mean it will be good — but “Potted Potter” certainly was.

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