Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Cleveland & Akron

Potted Potter—The Unauthorized Harry Experience
Touring Production
Review by Mark Horning | Season Schedule

Also see Mark's review of Black Nativity


James Percy and Jesse Briton
Photo Courtesy of Seabright Productions
J. K. Rowling has been cited as the author who taught a generation to read. She is most well known for her Harry Potter series of seven books, the first of which was published in 1997. Since then, the books have been translated into 80 languages, won multiple awards, and sold over 500 million copies worldwide as the best selling book series in history.

So it is no surprise that someone would take it upon themselves to do a parody about this series of books. Two-time Olivier-nominated writers Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner have, along with Potted Potter—The Unauthorized Harry Experience, penned a series of parodies including Potted Pirates, Potted Panto, and their latest, Potted Sherlock. Their performances have played Off-Broadway, as well as in London's West End, and on many international tours. This is the third time for Potted Potter to appear in the Cleveland area.

In the case of Potted Potter, the entire collection of seven volumes is condensed into just 70 minutes of stage time. This is no small undertaking, as there are a total of 4,224 pages to consider. On top of this, they are dealing with rabid fans who have studied these hallowed works and have memorized every tiny detail.

So how does this show stack up? To use a common British term—smashing! The location of the current stop of the show is Crocker Park in Westlake, more specifically in the Market Square Building in Crocker Park, making this an Off-Playhouse Square production.

James Percy stars as the boy wizard, the Snitch (in full gold costume) and, briefly, Headmaster Dumbledore prior to his demise. Percy's partner in crime is Jesse Briton, who single-handedly plays all of the other parts, including Ron, Hermione, Professor Snipe, Remus Lupin, a Death Eater, etc.

Using scant props (most of the budget appears to have been spent on the amazing, stupendous, awe-inspiring, flying, fire-breathing, colossal dragon), the two actors take the audience on a madcap adventure of theater. James narrates the story in rapid-fire style as Jesse tries to keep up, all the while attempting to bring himself up to speed by reading the seventh and final book in between scenes.

Over the course of the quick-moving 70 minutes, they manage to give a pretty accurate account of the books, while including an audience participation quidditch match, a cartoon video, and various brief references to such things as President Trump, "Game of Thrones," 50 Shades of Grey, Monty Python, Hamilton, and more.

This show is a perfect treat for the entire family but will be especially delightful for those who have read the books or seen the movies. Even if you do not know the difference between a Horcrux and a Hufflepuff, you will be swept away by the magic of Harry Potter for a fascinating evening of quick-fire humor, slapstick and silliness.

For those who have seen previous performances, this version has been updated with a refreshed set design and upgraded illusions added to the endless costumes, jokes, brilliant songs, ridiculous props, and a dash of Hogwarts magic.

Potted Potter—The Unauthorized Harry Experience, through January 6, 2018, at Market Square Building, 239 Market Street in Crocker Park, Westlake OH. Tickets may be purchased online at www.pottedpotter.com (click on "Market Square At Crocker Park – Book Now") or by phone by calling 888-729-4718.


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