By Jacqueline Monahan
Potted Potter at the Showroom at Bally’s: So Very, Very, Harry!
He’s the most famous Potter in the world, and he’s been potted. No, not planted – potted.
Potted - British (of a biographical or historical account) put into a short and easily assimilable form.
There are seven books and eight films in the mega-successful Harry Potter franchise. There are over 300 characters that populate that Hogwarts world, full of wizards, witches, spells, potions, horcruxes, and Quidditch.
Yet, the Potted Potter parody relies solely on the talents of TWO actors who together play out all of the roles and major scenes, taking the audience with them on the wild ride through the Potter books using minimal props and costume changes.
Writer/creators Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner started working with each other back in 2005, when they were asked to create a street show of the first five Potter books to entertain fans waiting in line for the midnight release of the sixth book. Their five-minute show handled a book a minute and the duo found that they were a natural team.
Jeff Turner and Dan Clarkson
These two actors have co-written and presented other “Potteds” including Potted Pirates and Potted Panto. Their latest, Potted Sherlock, was written by Dan and his brother Tom, but Jeff shares the stage with Dan on this one as well. The team has performed in London’s West End and off-Broadway, as well as numerous international shows.
The talented duo have impressive resumes. Jeff actually trained with Second City when they visited London, and Dan directed a Spanish version of Potted Potter in Mexico City. Both appear in numerous television shows in the UK; Dan also has two film credits to his name. From this prolific partnership sprung the parody of the world’s most famous Boy Wizard. The creators will be starring in Potted Potter at Bally’s Las Vegas through June 23. After that, other cast members take over the production.
Their stage contains three large items draped in black that are revealed to be an upright Coffin, a wardrobe, and the iconic Welcome to Las Vegas sign, the LV portion papered over with Forbidden Forest.
The stage before the unveiling (Jeff Turner at desk)
Photo Credit: Mike Monahan
The charismatic duo dress in black t-shirts with white piping and the words Potted 1 on the left breast (Jeff). Dan is Potted 2.
The books are presented in sequence, compressed into thin slices of gist, and performed with a zany, fast-paced delivery of both witty words and sight gags that sometimes involves the audience. For superfans, some of the skits/jokes are quite apparent. For others who might not be so familiar with the story, modern references are slipped in like quicksilver. Be prepared (or not) for references to Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, the U.S. President, sight gags, puppets, video clips, projectile water, and chocolate cake.
While Jeff mainly portrays the designated Harry, Dan burns numerous calories running in circles and donning the numerous hats and costumes of the large Potter cast. Fans will remember that the Weasley family is made of gingers (redheads). Dan plays the entire family wearing one orange wig, dropping to one knee to slip in a rapid-fire Annie reference.
A wizard’s hat signals Snape, who revels in his evil persona (or does he?) wonders Dan, alluding to a well-known plot twist in the last book. Throughout it all, Jeff portrays the hapless, bespectacled Harry during a host of adventures against the evil Voldemort and other dubious Rowling spawn.
Keepsake Potter Specs
One of the Potter books features a giant Quidditch match, brought to life interactively with the aid of a split audience and an inflatable ball in the image of a globe. Gryffindor and Slytherin square off as audience members push, throw, or slap the ball to the opposite team’s suspended oval ring. Two audience members are chosen to represent the teams (this night it was a young boy and even younger girl). Jeff plays the Golden Snitch.
An onstage wardrobe opens to reveal a makeshift video screen to supplement the sometimes-hyperactive antics of the two actors. In 70 minutes, they manage to cover all seven books with added commentary, absurdity, and above all, humor.
No wand required.
Potted Potter – A Parody by Dan and Jeff
Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
3645 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Media Member with Official Programme (UK version)
Photo Credit: Mike Monahan