This was my first time visiting Hogwarts anywhere other than in my mind, and also my first time setting foot in the Bluma Appel Theatre in Toronto. Iconic Harry’s round glasses were in one hand, and hope for undemanding entertainment with a little bit of magic was in the other.
Seeing the stage with mysterious props hiding under black sheets, I felt like that 10-year-old kid again reading my first Harry Potter book and shooing away my older brother, who was casting spoilers on me like unforgivable spells. “Snape is not a bad guy, Maria, haha.”
‘Potted Potter’ experience and parody was created by two-time Olivier Award-nominated actors Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner. In Toronto, it is performed by Josephine Starte and Lottie Bell. Josephine, a true die-hard Harry Potter fan and a close friend of none other than J. K. Rowling herself (apparently, or apparently not), was determined to introduce the entire magical world with almost 300 characters in it.
Her friend Lottie, who has no idea who Harry is or what he did and how he did it, decided to spend all the production money not on actors but on the dragon. And yes, there will be a dragon on the stage, and yes, its size will surprise you.
You don’t need to be a Harry Potter fan to enjoy Lottie’s and Josephine’s version of the School of Magic and their attempt to play all the characters alone. The first laugh comes with the props and Lottie’s determination to understand what is really happening. If you don’t get the first joke, you will definitely get the second one and all of them after that because they will be cast on you like spells from Dumbledore’s wand.
I especially liked that they somehow brought real Quidditch into the audience. And it was in a truly unique way. This is one of the many magical moments that convinced me that ‘Potted Potter’ is for both a kids’ and an adult audience and that you can laugh even when completely lost in staged silliness.
The show was too fast-paced and energetic (how else to fit seven years of wizard life and multiple attempts at taking his life into 70 minutes), and sometimes I lost track of the narrative. It was too much and a little tiring; however, every time, I caught a second breath with the next punchline.
You will experience lots of stage running, costume changing, interactive features, lights, and a little cabaret singing. You will meet all of the main characters from the Potter books (and other completely different books as well), but don’t wait for all the critical main storylines. You will see that, in the end, they aren’t that important, like a good game of Quidditch with a real golden snitch being beaten by kids on the stage.
One golden piece of advice for everyone coming to the show – come with an open mind and expect the unexpected.
If you are looking for a proper belly laugh with a bit of magic after office hours, take your friends, kids, or colleagues, or just take yourself and enjoy a good hour of jokes about Harry, his friends, mortal enemies, or everything else. ‘Potted Potter‘ brings magic to Toronto in its unique way, and you can enjoy the show at the Bluma Appel Theatre until January 14th.
Maria Rostecka, Content Specialist, The Onside Media, Canada
Based in Toronto, Ontario
Hi! I’m Maria Rostecka, a Content Specialist at The Onside Media, Canada, with a focus on arts and entertainment, business, tech and culinary. If you have a compelling story to share, don’t hesitate to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.