Review: ‘Potted Potter’ play fails to cast a spell over Minneapolis

Although the two-man parody show drew some laughs, it was ultimately not worth the price of admission

Becca Most

‘Potted Potter’ didn’t have some of the props you normally would expect a Harry Potter reenactment show would have.

For instance, the feared antagonist Lord Voldemort donned sparkly red devil horns and an attitude, the dangerous Forbidden Forest was a painted beach scene with black lettering that warned to ‘KEEP OUT,’ and the final battle of Hogwarts featured a Harry Potter-Voldemort sing-off of ‘I Will Survive’ complete with a disco ball and colored lights.

Originally created by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner in 2005, ‘Potted Potter’ has evolved from a five-minute street performance to a parody show debuting in places from Tokyo to South Africa.

James Percy and Joseph Maudsley hit the stage Wednesday night at the Pantages Theatre, tasked with summarizing all seven Harry Potter books in little over an hour. 

As people of all ages filed into their seats, even the ushers played into their nostalgic excitement, handing out programs in the form of paper scrolls.

Using silly props, music, and audience interaction to tell the story, Potted Potter was able to appeal to a mass audience that didn’t necessarily need to be a Harry Potter fanatic to get most of the jokes.

The duo’s banter, at times, reflected authentic funniness and familiarity with each other. 

When Maudsley veered off script and tickled Percy with the terrifying basilisk from book two (in reality a green plush snake with shiny scales), the fact that they both broke character for a couple of seconds to just laugh at the absurdity of the scene showcased a genuine love for what they do.

Likewise, during a rousing game of quidditch (think wizard soccer on broomsticks) the team employed the audience to join in on the game, assigning half of the auditorium to team Gryffindor and the other half to team Slytherin. 

Having secured two massive lifebuoys to hang off the sides of the balconies, audience members hit an inflated globe to each other, trying in vain to make it into their respective hoop.

It’s only fair to give points to Percy and Maudsley for their creativity, however more traditional fans probably found the performance as a whole somewhat childish and immature.

The duo based a lot of their jokes on prop-humor and Maudsley’s constant state of  confusion about the basic plot of the Harry Potter stories got a bit old. 

Although they worked hard to include quips more appealing to adults (Maudsley mixes up Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with Fifty Shades of Grey), Potted Potters’ family-friendliness ultimately prevented them from giving an admission-worthy performance (because hey, $70 for a spot in the nosebleeds isn’t worth it). 

As the scattered standing ovation proved at the end of the performance—the show was good, but not great. 

Hopefully for their next show, the audience won’t be so sirius.

What: Potted Potter

When: February 13-March 10

Where: Pantages Theatre, 710 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis

Cost: $69-$100, student rush tickets available select days for $25 with valid student ID

Ages: All