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Fern Siegel

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Stage Door: Potted Potter

Posted: 06/13/2012 6:37 pm

The "Harry Potter" books were a cultural phenomenon, spawning fanatic loyalty. They are also ripe for parody -- as Potted Potter at The Little Shubert on Theater Row makes clear.

The English import, subtitled "an unauthorized Harry experience, a parody by Dan and Jeff," is just that. Two BBC kids presenters, Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, posit a simple premise: In 70 minutes, they can zip through the "Potter" opus -- highlighting the series' key plot points, while zinging some of the wackier aspects of Hogwarts. It's represented here by two stuffed animals: warthogs.

For kids, it's an entertaining idea -- and judging from their reactions, it's a fun family outing.

Jeff, an earnest and maniacal Potter fan, plays Harry, complete with black glasses. Conversely, Dan is a goofy guy who knows nothing about "Harry Potter" world, so he's charged with playing all the other characters -- from Hermione to Voldemort -- with a nutty stab at authenticity.

Because Dan isn't a confirmed "Pothead," he just makes stuff up as he goes along, which means he zeroes in on the crazier bits of the seven books, as well as pop culture. He manages to give a shout-out to War Horse and Gypsy, which means nothing to the kids, but adds context for the adults.

One of the ongoing jokes of Potted Potter is that it is a low-budget show with relatively high comic expectations. (They even throw in an audience-participating Quidditch match for good measure.) After all, part of any spoof is spoofing success, which J.K. Rowling produced on a mega-level.

It helps if you know what a magical Horcrux is or hiss at the mention of Slytherin. But even if you don't, find a child who does. He'll thank you.

 
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