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Review: Potted Potter at Seymour Centre

Review by Lauren Donikian

Whether you have read the books, seen the movies, or have just heard about the boy wizard, there is no denying that Harry Potter has touched many generations. The audience is proof that you are never too old to believe in magic. 

Scott Hoatson and Brendan Murphy star in this slapstick comedy, with Hoatson playing the “straight man” and Murphy playing the “banana man”. Starring as themselves, the pair re-tell the seven books written by J.K Rowling in 70 minutes. Hoatson plays Harry Potter and Murphy plays everyone else… literally.

Written by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, Potted Potter turns the Potter universe on its head by summarising each book as quickly as possible. Whether it is through a video on a screen, with a puppet, or through a song, the comedy never ends. With witty commentary that the adults in the audience love and audience participation that always get the kids excited the script allows its cast to be flexible and gives them the chance to improvise. If the moment arises. Something that I particularly enjoy is when the references used in the show relate to the location that they are performing in. The use of the name Peter Dutton got a few laughs. 

Lighting designer Tim Mascall made the show flow by using a warm orange hue whilst the retelling of the books was being played out and changing it to a stage white when it was the duo talking to indicate that this was their time outside of the Potter World. Set designer Simon Scullion cleverly covered set pieces in a white cloth to enhance the wonder and the multiple uses of some of these pieces added to the laughs. The choices made for the wigs, masks and ‘costumes’ were so wrong that they were right. The use of smoke provided a sense of whimsy and of course terror when the stage was lit with red for ‘he who shall not be named’ was being portrayed. 

Hoatson and Murphy in their matching black t-shirt and jeans are effortless together and still find ways to make each other ‘break’ – even though they have toured this show for some time. The physical comedy that explodes from Murphy keeps you energised, and he feeds off that also. Being surprised by Australian audiences is one thing, but leaning in and taking advantage of it is something not everyone can do. Hoatson is a delight and plays the ever-loving Harry Potter fan convincingly, even without the lightning bolt scar on his forehead the casting couldn’t be more spot on. He is supportive of Murphy’s choices and plays along whilst still staying loyal to his character. Hoatson has a lot of clever one-liners that no muggle would understand, and he is very proud of that. 

Potted Potter really is a show for everyone, and the duo reflect that with one being a die-hard fan and one convincing the other that they know all about it. Using different story telling styles for each book keeps the audience engaged and the use of physical comedy just solidifies that the story of Harry Potter and his friends bring out the inner child in all of us. I mean, how often do you get to play a real game of Quidditch?  

Image Supplied



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