Harry Potter gets a comedic, theatrical twist
By KATHRYN STUTZ
Known as “Seven books in 70 minutes,” Potted Potter—The Unauthorized Harry Experience is to the Harry Potter series what The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged) is to the Bard’s many famous plays, and it will performed right here in downtown Tacoma this week.
The two actors, Delme Thomas and the fortuitously named James Percy, combine parody and improvisation to convey the main plot points of all seven of J.K. Rowling’s bestselling Harry Potter novels.
The show is billed as “perfect for ages six to Dumbledore (who is very old indeed)” on the show’s website pottedpotter.com, and has toured all over the world.
Actor James Percy said he “auditioned back in London” for the part. He plays Harry, while his acting partner Delme Thomas plays every other character in the show, a staggering total of about 300 characters, Percy claimed. In a 70-minute show, that means a nearly impossible-sounding feat of over four characters per minute.
The original show was created by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner in 2005, when the pair were “asked to do something to entertain a crowd at a midnight book launch in Edinburgh for the sixth book,” Percy said.
This was “the bare bones of what was to become Potted Potter… they sort of just took it and made it into a show.”
Fittingly, Percy confirmed that “a lot of the inspiration came from the works of the Reduced Shakespeare company, and their Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged).”
Percy and Thomas joined the Potted Potter team this past May, at the beginning of the second American tour.
“Under the tutorship of Dan and Jeff,” Percy said, “we got to really learn the routine, before we hit the road… at that point, we were sharing the show, really.”
Mariesa Bus is the Marketing Coordinator at the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts, which will be hosting Potted Potter.
“This is a great opportunity to revisit your favorite moments from when you were a kid staying up late and reading the Harry Potter series. College students especially will get a kick out of the constant costume, set, and character changes that the actors go through in just 70 minutes, with all the hilarious improv that happens as a result,” Bus said.
Even if you only know Harry Potter as “that boy wizard,” Potted Potter, as a summary of the books, is a fine place for a non-fan to start. “It’s not just the hardcore Harry fans who enjoy it,” Percy said.
Additionally, the performance dates of the Potted Potter team in Tacoma are conveniently scheduled during the Halloween season.
“We’re very excited about the Halloween show in particular, because we know that Tacoma loves to dress up in costume and there will be some really creative versions of Hagrid, Dumbledore, Harry, and Hermione in the audience,” Bus said.
Percy described the show as, “a lot of fun,” though he said he thinks it’s “crazy that we can make a living, we basically muck around on stage and hope that immigration doesn’t kick us out of the country.”
Whether you are a die-hard Potterhead or simply a fan of a good comedy show with a tongue-in-cheek nod to the pop-culture phenomenon that is The Boy Who Lived, Potted Potter is one of the biggest and best events of the Tacoma theatre scene this fall, and is well worth attending.
Potted Potter will be showing at the Rialto Theatre in downtown Tacoma from Oct. 29 through Nov. 3, at 7:30 p.m. each night and at 9:30 p.m. Nov. 1 and 3:00 p.m. Nov. 2 and 3.
Tickets are still on sale by phone, at the box office and online at the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts website, www.broadwaycenter.org.
There is a Puget Sound student special discount of 15 percent off the ticket price with the code LOGGERPOTTER.