‘Potted Potter’ shows at Missouri Theatre, exceeds expectations

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Trisha Chaudhary

Image used under fair use doctrine
Image used under fair use doctrine
On Wednesday, Feb. 13, Potted Potter, a Harry Potter parody, came to Columbia’s very own Missouri Theatre. The show crammed all seven Harry Potter books into “seventy hilarious minutes”, according to the flyer. And did it ever!
Actors Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, otherwise known as Dan and Jeff to the audience, originally started Potted Potter as a street show in Scotland, and it has transformed into a touring performance, visiting cities such as Toronto, New York, Chicago and the great Columbia, Missouri. The duo put on a hilarious rendition of the Harry Potter books with minimal props and no additional actors.
Though the show started with (and consistently experienced) mike problems, Dan and Jeff made light out of the situation by poking fun at Missouri Theatre’s sound system throughout the show. Their mockery of Missouri and of teachers (in a University town…) made the audience feel right at home with the actors and convinced us all that they had done their research.
I went into the show with little to no expectations. Perhaps this was why I thought it was so funny. Although when they started, I was a little skeptical as to whether or not this was worth my money, I quickly changed my mind.
I really started enjoying the performance when Dan and Jeff created a makeshift game of Quidditch. Dan called up two “young volunteers” from the audience to be the seekers for two teams, which he created by splitting the theater in half. It took all I had to not volunteer and thrust my hand into the air and jump up and down yelling, “ME! ME!” but I didn’t want to be that awkwardly-old girl on stage.
This version of quidditch involved two teams, a beach volley ball (as a makeshift quaffle), two light up circles (as goal hoops) and most importantly, a snitch, which was really just Jeff dressed in a golden ball suit. The whole audience got involved: hitting balls, cheering, but most importantly, laughing. I couldn’t sit still, I was laughing so hard.
After a roughly 10 minute quidditch game, Dan and Jeff dove back into reenacting the books. Jeff played Harry throughout the large majority of the performance and Dan was, well, everybody else. He would disappear behind a wardrobe (which also doubled as a screen), and reemerge adorned with a different hat depending on the character he was playing. Ron Weasley got a neon orange wig with dreadlocks, Hermione Granger got a knitted hat with yellow braids, Hagrid got a beard and Dumbledore got a tall pointy wizard’s hat with silver stars. Other characters included Severus Snape, Sirius Black, Draco Malfoy and Remus Lupin.
This performance was really just an hour and a half of pure mindless entertainment. I felt like a giddy four-year-old. Dan and Jeff’s British accents combined with their sarcastic and snarky humor was perfect for me.
I was thoroughly impressed, not only by Dan and Jeff’s knowledge of Columbia, but also by Missouri Theatre’s ability to book such an amazing show. I thought it was funny, clever and perfectly light-hearted.
Potted Potter was the perfect end to my week.
By Trisha Chaudhary