Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is a film that I have seen countless times. So much so that I can almost recite the script every time I watch it. But what would happen if you were to run the script through a translator, not once, but multiple times and then finally back into English? Well, Lost In Translation shows us exactly what happens and this Melbourne Fringe show is up there as one of the best things I have ever seen!
After playing to sold out audiences at this year’s Adelaide Fringe, Braw Media’s Lost In Translation troupe has finally made its way to Melbourne Fringe. Over five nights, the group will perform various films, in a condensed one-hour show. And as already mentioned, they run the condensed script back and forth between multiple languages eventually return an English version. To add to the mayhem, there is also a special guest that has never seen the script before. It is as chaotic as it sounds, and I was so excited!
Hosted and narrated by Aaron Finan and accompanied by six performers consisting of James McLean in the main role of Harry Potter or ‘Barry Potter’, Sophie Addison (Quirrel, McGonagall, Olivander, Firenze, The Cake), Emma Evans (Hermione, Petunia), Lochryn Hearne (Dumbledore, Snape, Dudley, Mrs Weasley), Josh Rice (Hagrid, Filch, Sorting Hat), and Simon Taylor (Ron, Vernon, Voldemort). James, Josh and Simon were the special guests for this particular show.
Opening with the first scene of the film where McGonagall and Dumbledore meet baby Harry, we discover that McGonagall is actually now known as Rabbi McGonagall. Dumbledore explained to McGonagall that Hagrid, who would later be describe as a half man half large man, is buying him now. Yes, Hagrid is apparently buying a baby! Barry Potter is described to have a scab on his forehead in the shape of a lightbulb. This was only the opening scene and I was already in stitches!
One of the best things about this show is the literal translations of certain words. Somewhere along the line, Barry Potter became Barry Ceramics. The Philosopher’s Stone became The Einstein Stone, and at one point Harry, Ron and Hermione became Honda Cars. Don’t ask me how but it was wild. It also didn’t take long before the sexual innuendos began! The scene where Dursley receives his birthday presents, Vernon exclaims his package is a lot bigger this year. The whole room erupted in uncontrollable laughter, and it only got better! Including references to Barry’s stick, pulling out and much more.
I have to commend the entire cast for being able to, for the most part, keep it together. I have no idea how they could read this ridiculously funny version of a favourite tale and still keep a straight face. Not only do they manage to read through the mayhem, but they also acted out some sequences. Including, but not limited to, the snake in the enclosure, falling downstairs, and even the disturbing Professor Quirrell-Voldemort double head thing!
They also each need to be applauded for their fantastic voice acting skills. Not only were they able to express the emotion and even lean into some of the unexpected changes in the script, but they managed to slip in and out of multiple characters with ease, including their relevant accents. By the way, Addison’s accents are absolutely flawless. Close your eyes and you could swear it was Maggie Smith standing on stage.
Some of the funniest moments came at the hands of Simon Taylor. This was due to the questionable and hilarious sexually suggestive lines. What made it even better was the rest of the cast reading ahead and chuckling under their breaths, only to have Taylor pause, sigh, then read out the line that would send the room into hysterics.
Lost In Translation is pure chaos in the best way possible. I am so glad this crew finally made their way to Melbourne. One of our fellow writers saw Jurassic Park at Adelaide Fringe and I’ve been itching to experience this troupe’s work all year. The only sad thing is, I don’t have the time to go and see them again! Plus, most of their shows this Melbourne Fringe season are already fully booked!
Harry Potter and the Einstein Stone was a complete sell out and it is easy to see why. Braw Media’s Lost in Translation is 100% a must see! Don’t wait to buy your tickets because the rest of their limited season will sell out. So please, don’t sleep on this one and get your tickets whilst you still can and let’s hope this won’t be the last time they come back to Melbourne.
Braw Media’s Lost in Translation is currently playing in Melbourne as part of 2023 Melbourne Fringe until October 15 at Festival Hub: Trades Hall – Solidarity Hall. Lost in Translation’s version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was performed on Wednesday October 11.
For more information and ticketing, visit:
Photography by Annie Harvey which contains photographic evidence of this review writer and the editor of this site laughing from the front row.