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Harry Potter–inspired spoof arrives in November

Fresh off Hogwarts Express, two Brits bring their comedy Potted Potter to Chicago.

By Kari Kamin |

Harry Potter lives! Or at least, an absurd alternate-universe version does, thanks to Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience, a comedic two-hander that recaps all seven H.P. books in 70 minutes. Writer-actor Daniel Clarkson, responsible for every character but the boy wizard, tells us what to expect from this Britain-born parody.

You play over 100 characters. Which ones give you the most trouble as an actor? The hardest to play was Voldemort. He’s the dark lord; there’s not a nice side to him. In our play, a very parody-comedy, there’s a different edge to it that makes him more fun. I think I’m the first person to ever play Voldemort as a lovable character. I now feel he is misunderstood, and all he really needs is a big hug and everything’s going to be okay.

Is the show for all ages? A grateful father told me that, for the first time, he was able to talk to his kids about Harry Potter. Before, he didn’t know a Snitch from a swear word.

You invite two kids onstage to play Quidditch. Any tips for our young readers who hope to participate? Don’t jump up and down and scream, because chances are I won’t let you anywhere near the stage if you’re doing that. Or bribe me. Seriously, 50 bucks.

How are American audiences different from British audiences? One thing I’ve noticed about American audiences: They’re very loud. In Britain, we’re very appreciative, but we’re very polite about it. In America, it seems you guys just shout out and go for it. It’s an amazing response. The moment where I say the child might be standing on a trap door—in Britain, the kid always steps off the trap door, whereas in America, the kid likes to jump up and down on it. I think that’s the difference.

Potted Potter opens Tuesday, 11/13. See the listing for details.

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