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Potted Potter

This unauthorized parody of the Harry Potter books has a high stupidity factor.

By New York City
Jefferson Turner and Daniel Clarkson
in Potted Potter
(© Geraint Lewis)
Jefferson Turner and Daniel Clarkson
in Potted Potter
(© Geraint Lewis)
There's a high stupidity factor in Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience A Parody by Dan & Jeff, currently at the Little Shubert Theatre. Occasionally, this results in laughter, but too often it simply makes for a tiresome experience at the theater.

Written and performed by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, the show aims to condense all seven books of J.K. Rowling's popular Harry Potter book series into roughly 70 minutes.

However, it gets bogged down from the start with an overly lengthy and not all that funny set-up featuring the bickering Dan and Jeff, and their divergent approaches to the project. Jeff is described as the "Harry Potter expert" while Dan initially seems to have no clue about the books, confusing them with The Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

As the duo finally gets around to summarizing the story of young wizard Harry Potter, there are occasional flashes of humor, but the script lacks the bite necessary for an effective satire, and many of the jokes just don't land. This includes a brief allusion to the animated film adaptation of Watership Down, which engendered such a lack of response the night I attended the show, that the performers were obliged to acknowledge that the bit wasn't connecting to the audience.

Two young audience volunteers who participated in the production's version of the wizarding sport of Quidditch proved to be the highlight of the evening, but the effectiveness of the sequence itself could vary widely from performance to performance. The best bit by Dan and Jeff featured one of them narrating while the other runs around a large wardrobe, coming out as a different character each time, and eventually getting a bit confused about what he's supposed to be doing.

Clarkson is the more dynamic actor of the two, and his enthusiasm is admittedly endearing. Unfortunately, Turner stays on pretty much the same sour note through most of the show.

Potted Potter is being marketed as "suitable for the whole family, including grown-ups," but that's really not the case. The script needs more wit to really appeal to adult audiences and even the younger set may feel like their intelligence is being underestimated.


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