Potted Potter

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

Talk about Hogwarts Express. This is the entire seven-book Harry Potter saga compressed into little over 60 minutes.

Not that double act Dan and Jeff overly concern themselves with covering every supporting character or subtle plot development as they précis and parody their way through the adventures at breakneck speed. Rather they use the Potter phenomenon as a loose backdrop to their energetic alternative pantomime.

It means that knowledge the finer points of the septology isn’t crucial to the enjoyment of this spirited romp – and, presumably, such loose adhesion to the source material might also help keep JK Rowling’s lawyers at bay.

Potted Potter is – fairly obviously – a kids’ show, and does come with the incessant shouting, relentlessly manic energy and over-the-top tomfoolery that seems par for the genre. Such exaggerated performance might prove too much for a jaded adult, but it’s great if you’re eight.

Even so, Dan and Jeff do manage to limit the forced jollity. They have a genuinely playful spirit and a natural chemistry that makes them easy to enjoy, despite initial reservations. Such good humour rubs off on the audience, too – not that the younger members ever need much encouragement to get into the swing of things.

The live game of Quiddich is the apex of this audience participation, as excited children (and at least one adult) get completely carried away in the moment. Otherwise all the family fun you might expect is here, from over-repeated catchphrases, silly dressing-up, lively songs and exaggerated rants.

As for the double-act dynamic, Jeff is the straight man, the cheery Potterite trying to take it all seriously, while Dan does his best to sabotage proceedings and wind up his earnest companion, which proves remarkably easy. Although Jeff plays Harry, it is Dan, taking the role of absolutely everyone else in the series, who youngsters will adore, thanks to his anarchic disobedience and unquenchably playful spirit. What more do you need to be a hero to like-minded children?

The show - a reworked transfer from last year's Edinburgh Fringe - is an irreverent blast from start to finish, frothily light and driven forward at a such a lick that boredom is not an option. ‘Ideal for all the family’ is a claim that’s often made and rarely fulfilled, especially at this time of year – but in this case it could well be true, even for muggles who don’t know their Aragog from their Bezoar.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Trafalgar Studios, London, December 2007

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

What do you think?

Today's comedy-on demand picks


From an empty Tyne Theatre in Newcastle, Carl Hutchinson introduces the venue's first live show since the lockdown, featuring an array of North East talent, including Steffen Peddie, Nicola Mantalios-Thompson, Lauren Pattison and Gavin Webster, plus an interview with Chris Ramsey.

Click for more suggestions
... including a new stand-up special from Hannibal Buress and the return of Nighty Night to iPlayer.

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.