Condensio Libri! Or Plotto Summararium! Hmm: Shrinkum Narrativo? I’m sure if we keep at it, we’ll find the pseudo-Latin spell that successfully crams all seven tomes of the Harry Potter saga into one 70-minute comedy sketch. The puckish performers Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner wind up a charm of their own: Despite having a chintzy, inappropriate set, dime-store costume pieces and a partial, fumbling grasp of J.K. Rowling’s 4,000-odd pages, this bumbling duo promises us a bravura recap.
For Potter fans above the age of nine, I must point out: This is a kids’ show, aimed squarely at youths who will cackle over Narnia/Hogwarts mix-ups, a running Quidditch gag and broad, goofy accents. If you go to Potted Potter hoping for a clever or incisive summing-up of the boy-wizard epic, maybe with some commentary about the work’s cultural impact and differences between the films and the novels, you will leave unsatisfied and probably irritated. Potted Potter began life in 2005 as a London street act, and while there’s some amusing character juggling and audience interaction, it remains more of a stunt than a show.
The performers don’t lack for birthday-party-clown charisma. Turner, bespectacled and easily exasperated, is the nerdy, earnest Harry. Lanky and laddish Clarkson portrays everyone else with the aid of cheap accessories, from Voldemort (devil’s horns) to Hermione Granger (blond pigtails). Huge swaths of plot and scores of characters are ignored, which I suppose is part of the joke. But with a top ticket price of $70, parents will fare better at Peter and the Starcatcher, a young-adult piece that’s just as funny, and considerably more enchanting.—David Cote
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