Potted Potter: Can make you chuckle repeatedly

Fann Sim
Going Out – By Night
6 September 2012

The British duo, Gary Trainor and Jesse Briton, condenses all seven Harry Potter books into mere 70-minutes of performance. (Photo from Fulford PR)
The British duo, Gary Trainor and Jesse Briton, condenses all seven Harry Potter books into mere 70-minutes of performance. (Photo from Fulford PR)

REVIEW

It doesn't matter if you're a fan or just an ordinary muggle, you can still enjoy the madcap humour of this Harry Potter parody.

Performed by comedic duo Gary Trainor and Jesse Briton, Potted Potter: The Unauthorised Harry Experience condenses all seven books in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling into a mere 70-minute performance. The play is currently on its Australasia tour and will be performing in Singapore from now until 16 September at the DBS Arts Centre.

What you get is a brief summarised version of each book with their key moments and how Harry triumphs over he-who-must-not-be-named repeatedly.

The storyline revolves around two actors from the UK planning to re-tell the whole story with an elaborate stage set. Trainor (as himself and Harry) tasks Briton (as himself and the other characters) to hire 25 West End actors and build a Hogwarts set on stage for their performance.

However, Briton squanders all the money away on a "fire-breathing dragon" that is supposed to be the Hungarian Horntail dragon, and so the set ends up looking more like a B-rated movie.

What makes Potted Potter work is its simple but effective jokes told by the endearing performers. Expect the actors to run around on stage beating each other up and telling superficial jokes about all the Potter characters.

Gary Trainor as Harry Potter and Jesse Briton as Lord Voldemort. (Photo courtesy of Fulford PR)
Gary Trainor as Harry Potter and Jesse Briton as Lord Voldemort. (Photo courtesy of Fulford PR)

Aside from scampering about, they will also sing. Halfway through Deathly Hallows, the duo (as Harry and Lord Voldemort) do a duet and belt out "I will Survive", making light of the tense confrontation the characters had in the film.

A parody about Harry Potter would be incomplete without Quidditch, and for this the duo enlists the help of the theatre-goers. The audience will be split into two houses -- Slytherin and Gryffindor -- and a seeker chosen from each house will have to find the special Snitch. The rest of the audience, meanwhile, can have fun acting as the "chasers" and trying to score a beach ball-sized Quaffle into goal posts positioned on the two ends of the stage.

The books and the film franchise may have come to their conclusion, but creative efforts such as Trainor's and Briton's production show that the magic of the world created by Rowling remains very much alive.

Potted Potter will be showing from 4 to 16 September at the DBS Arts Centre. Tickets are priced at $70 and $85 and are available at Sistic.

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