I have a confession to make: I haven’t read the Harry Potter series.
For years I have had to smile and keep my mouth shut out of ignorance while my friends discussed and debated the various minutiae of the series. So, when I heard that “Potted Potter-The Unauthorized Harry Experience” (a parody that condenses all seven of the books into a 70 minute show with only two actors) was coming to Portland, I figured now was a good a time as ever to get an education in the “world of wizarding.”
Imagine my surprise then, when I took my seat in the theatre and saw that the set was not something resembling what I envisioned Hogwarts to look like, or some quintessentially British scene, but was rather a conglomeration of a giant choo-choo train, and illustration of an island, a bookshelf, an upright coffin, and the wardrobe from C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia.”
As it turns out, although one of the actors (James) was an authority on Harry Potter, the other one (Joe, who incidentally was responsible for the scenic design) was just as clueless as I was. What ensued a delightful (and what I could only assume was a very loose) adaptation of Rowling’s books, with a live Quidditch match (with audience participation), an “I Will Survive” duet between Harry and Voldemort, and some of “The Hobbit” and “50 Shades of Grey” thrown in by “accident.”
The comedic timing of the actors was brilliant, as was some of their word play such as “muggle our way through” and “99 problems but this snitch ain’t one.” What was most entertaining was Joe’s interpretations of Hermione, Ron, Snape, Hagrid and Dumbledore.
Although I didn’t leave the theatre with the comprehensive understanding of series that I was hoping to gain, I thoroughly enjoyed the performance—as I’m sure did the other members of the audience who were as diverse in ages and backgrounds as Rowling’s characters.