I can still remember the day I discovered the magical world of Harry Potter. It was 1997 and I was browsing for something new to read at a bookstore in Alabang Town Center. I saw a promotional shelf brimming with copies of The Sorcerer’s Stone and was instantly intrigued by its cover: a small boy on a broom, trying to catch a tiny golden ball with wings. I got a copy and was hooked. Fast forward to 2019 and I’m obviously still a fan, because I had so much fun watching Potted Potter.
Potted Potter condenses all seven Harry Potter books (and a real-life game of Quidditch) into 70 minutes. The show features all our favorite characters, a fire-breathing dragon, costumes, songs, props, and lots of Hogwarts magic. You still get the gist of the story even if it’s compressed, and you can have a grand time even if you’re not a disciple of the series.
There are only two actors who play all the roles but you won’t mind because they’re hilarious. James Percy and Joseph Maudsley play themselves as they try to put on the show, often interacting with the audience as they “fumble” their way through production. Percy is more serious about putting on a spectacular act while Maudsley is more relaxed. They had great chemistry and had everyone in the audience laughing. In fact, now that I think about it, I don’t know which lines were rehearsed or done in improv.
The gem of Potted Potter is the duo’s style of storytelling. It harks back to its early days in 2005, when Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner staged the show at a London bookshop as a five-minute show for fans awaiting the release of The Half-Blood Prince. It strips the show to basics, relying on the actors’ personalities, a mishmash of props, and nothing else. When you have a duo as hilarious as Percy and Maudsley, you won’t need anything else.
Speaking of props, they were random, but they propelled the story forward and brought a lot of laughs. The ones involving Ron Weasley, Nagini, the dragon in The Goblet of Fire, and the Ford Anglia in The Chamber of Secrets were some of my favorites. As Maudsley proudly proclaimed a few times, “there’s no CGI in this show!”
There is no grand set design in Potted Potter. There are no elaborate costumes (well, maybe one), fancy lighting, or dramatic scenes. All the show has to offer are two incredibly hilarious guys, an obvious passion for the source material, some odd items, and the timeless story of the boy who lived. Despite that, or maybe because of that, the show is just as magical as the series and the day I discovered it.
After all this time? Always.
This story is in partnership with Concertus Manila. Potted Potter in Manila will be staged at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater. Tickets are now on sale at www.ticketworld.com.ph. The show is a collaboration between Concertus Manila, Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, and Potted Productions. For more information, follow Concertus Manila’s Facebook and Instagram pages, and Lunchbox Theatrical Productions’ Facebook and Twitter pages.