October seems to be a crazy busy month for me- four theatre/ballet outings, Junior Circle events, a wedding, and Thanksgiving! While it’s not allowing for quite the amount of time at home that I would like, I’m really enjoying spending time with friends and family and experiencing more culture here in Winnipeg. As a city we aren’t always known for the arts; although we have the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Winnipeg Symphony, and the Royal Manitoba Theatre Company, among many other organisations, the highlights always tend to be that we get horrendously cold in the winter and the Winnipeg Jets. For me personally, other than the RWB, I usually look to touring performances (like The Book of Mormon). My parents absollutely loved Potted Potter and after hearing their reviews, I knew I had to see it when I had the chance. Lo and behold, it stopped in Winnipeg for 4 days!
In case you aren’t familiar with Potted Potter, it is a two man play that covers all seven Harry Potter books in 80 minutes or less! (In case you are wondering, The Cursed Child is not included in the show.) It would help you to have some knowledge of the series, but it’s not necessary to enjoy the show. Dan and Jeff take you through the main points of each book with Dan mostly tackling the role of Harry and Jeff taking on all of the other characters… If you think that that might be a big load for one person, you would be right. However, Jeff is hilarious, and the amount of energy that he carried throughout the entire show is astounding.
The set and costumes are fairly basic; as an unauthorised Potter show, I doubt that they can replicate too much. As something that started out as a Fringe-type show, it definitely works for the mood of the show! Both Dan and Jeff are in plain black Potted Potter t-shirts and jeans, with glasses, hats, and wigs to complete the look for each character. Given that Jeff is changing characters roughly every six seconds at one point in the show, the images of wigs flying about the stage makes for a fairly hilarious rendition of Potter.
My absolute favourite part of the show was the Quidditch. We were divided into two teams, Gryffindor and Slytherin, we each had a Seeker go up on stage, and those of us in the audience tried to get the quaffle through the hoops suspended from the ceiling. Dan was dressed as the snitch, and was body-slammed to the ground by a twelve year old Seeker. Most of the audience (myself included) were laughing so hard we were in tears. I have to say that this is the best way of audience participation and interaction that I have ever seen in a stage production. Sure, comedians will draw on the crowd and pick on different people, but I loved that this was positive and fun for everyone!
I can’t recommend this show enough, whether you are a huge Potter fan or not! Dan and Jeff are absolutely brilliant actors and comedians, and even though I’m sure they have performed this show a thousand times, they completely committed to it. It keeps moving and never gets stuck or slow, and it’s not aimed at any one demographic. It might look like a fairly simple production, but they go above and beyond for their audience. The program for the show is even a scroll! If Potted Potter happens to be touring anywhere near you, you need to get yourself tickets for a performance!
What is your favourite play?