In "Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience" performer/writer duo Jeff Turner and Daniel Clarkson introduce the audience to the world of Harry Potter in a hilarious interactive experience that had members of the audience choking on their own laughter. In the space of a mere seventy minutes, both Potter enthusiasts and neophytes will lose themselves as Turner and Clarkson attempt to sum up the entirety of the series with amazing and amusing results.
As mentioned previously, both newcomers and experts to the Potter series will be entertained by this performance. Clarkson and Turner do an impressive job of introducing enough background material to induct those unfamiliar with the world of wizardry while simultaneously making sly comments that Potter fans will immediately recognize.
So what, specifically, do audiences have to look forward to? While experiences may vary, the Friday night showing included a fire-breathing dragon produced without the aid of CGI, some good old-fashioned heckling, wisecracks and subtle social commentary, and a hardcore game of Quidditch between rival houses Slytherin and Gryffindor played by the audience.
Oh, and it also included a grown man being body tackled by a shy eight-year-old girl and a unique remix of "I Will Survive" sung in a voice deep enough to rattle the stage. Again, experiences may vary.
The show has received positive reviews from columnists and audiences worldwide. It is easy to understand why both the show and the performers are so highly praised and why the show has been nominated for the Olivier Award, not once, but twice.
Turner and Clarkson have an uncanny ability to think quickly on their feet and can effortlessly slip their audience into a relaxed state before shooting off a one-liner that has a high possibility of leaving the audience gasping for breath between bursts of laughter.
The duo's ability to adapt to any situation is a valuable asset that proved its worth during the performance. Even when scenes don't go according to plan, for instance when a couple of kids took the chance to choose themselves during a search for volunteers, both performers continue the production with only a moment's pause. Even Clarkson being jabbed in the eye by a runaway prop wasn't enough to slow either one of them down.
Without giving too much more away, this reviewer can only say that this performance is a must-see for audiences of all ages and has all the qualities of a great family night out. Without a doubt, Clarkson and Turner have struck comedy gold. Purchase your tickets soon as showings tend to sell out quickly and for good reason.
"Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience" runs through Sept. 15 at the Shakespeare Theatre Company's Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St., NW in Washington, DC. For info or tickets call 202-547-1122 or visit http://www.shakespearetheatre.org.