Potted Potter – Theatre Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

There are many different ways you can experience the Harry Potter series. Whether you are an avid reader, listen to the audio books, or you’re just a film fan like myself. But have you ever experienced all seven books crammed into 70 minutes? Well, here is your chance with a new show hitting Melbourne and opened at the Athenaeum Theatre’s ‘Ath 2’ on Wednesday the 24th of April.

Created by double Olivier Award Best Entertainment nominees Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, Potted Potter, the Unauthorised Harry Potter Experience is a parody of all seven books, smashed into a 70-minute show of unhinged chaos and hilarity. Having seen the production once before way back in 2014, I was excited to see how the show had evolved in those ten years. It is safe to say that Potted Potter is just as good as I remember. If anything, it has only gotten better!

Starring Scott Hoatson as Harry Potter and Brendan Murphy as, well, literally everyone else, the pair run through the books at an incredible pace, touching on the main plot points of each. There are hilarious costume pieces that are used to depict the many characters in the tale and some questionable choices in set design that add to the chaos as the show progresses.

There are so many memorable moments of this chaotic production and there are a few worth mentioning; right from the start with book one, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, where Murphy incorrectly called it the Sorcerer’s Stone, breaking character as he realised, we’re not in America. There’s a moment with a chocolate cake that had both Hoatson and Murphy breaking down in hysterics. A video presentation to recap the Prisoner of Azkaban with some hilarious animations. But the biggest highlight would have to be the Quidditch Match during the Goblet of Fire that allowed for some fun audience participation.

Brendan Murphy is hilariously chaotic. Not only does he have a ridiculously funny persona for each and every character, but he has to remember where each of them fit as the fast-paced show progresses. I honestly have no idea how he does it. His delivery is only enhanced with the physical comedy he brings to his respective roles. Murphy is also a natural comic, leaning into the reactions from the audience and improvising jokes in a seemingly deliberate attempt to make his counterpart break character. A feat he achieved several times during the show.

This brings me to Scott Hoatson as Harry Potter. Not only does Hoatson play the pivotal role in each of the books, but he also serves as the charismatic narrator as we skimmed through each of the seven books. He’s the glue that tries to hold everything together as Murphy seeks to derail it. I can only imagine how terrifying it is every night, not knowing what antics his partner will get up to for each show, but he holds it together as best as he can. I for one wouldn’t last 5 minutes alongside Murphy. Just look out for Hoatson’s special character appearance half-way through the show, it was sidesplittingly funny! Hoatson and Murphy are the perfect pair and are clearly having the best time together on stage.

Potted Potter is super fun and suitable for all ages. You do not have to have read the books to understand it. I for one have not, but I have seen the films. You could attend this show without prior understanding and still have fun. However, having some knowledge of the Harry Potter series will only enhance your experience.

Potted Potter is the comedic parody of the famous series that nobody asked for but I am glad exists. It is hard to believe it has been 10 years since I first saw it on stage in Melbourne, and I am thankful that it has made a return and has evolved into the masterpiece it is today. I just hope that we don’t have to wait another 10 years before this brilliant show returns to our shores.

Potted Potter is now playing at Melbourne’s Athenaeum Theatre in the ‘Ath 2’ upstairs theatrette. With performances running through to Sunday the 5th of May, there is not much time to see it before it leaves. There are also performances in Adelaide from the 10th to 12th of May and Perth from the 23rd to 26th of May.

For more information and ticketing, please visit:

Photography supplied.

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