Potted Potter is a Harry Potter improv parody show that condenses 7 Harry Potter books into 70 minutes. I spoke with Jeff Turner, one of the leads, about the show.
SD: How did the two of you meet and how was the “Potted Potter” conceived?
JT: Dan was performing his one-man comedy show in Lapland and when he returned to London he saw my street performance. He introduced himself, and later when he was approached to do a show in a bookshop for “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” he thought of me and the rest is history.
SD: With only 70 minutes to perform, how did you decide which material to cover from the 7 novels?
JT: Dan was a huge fan and I never read any of the books, so while Dan was writing the script I was reading the books. It then just turned out to be what we could remember from each book. The first version was about 3-4 hours longs so we then just decided to focus on Harry and Voldemort and throw in a few other characters here and there.
SD: If you could be any “Harry Potter” character, who would it be and why?
JT: I would just be an ordinary wizard attending Hogwarts and minding my own business. If I could choose which house to be a part of it would have to be Hufflepuff.
SD: How much of the show is scripted and how much of it is improvised?
JT: We keep the script quite loose. I would have to say about 20% of the show is improvised. We usually invite two kids from the audience up on stage and you can never know how that is going to turn out so we just go with the flow of things.
SD: Has J.K. Rowling seen the show?
JT: There’s a story when we were at the Edinburgh Festival in 2006, we sold out quite early. After one show, a box office girl, came over almost in tears and her manager said, ‘Tell them what you’ve done’ and it turns out that she may have turned JK Rowling away because we were sold out. We don’t how true that is, but when we heard, we were quite distraught, especially Dan. So now every single show we do there is always a seat that isn’t sold so that if she EVER wants to see it, she can.
Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience – A Parody plays at The Paramount Center Mainstage, September 17 through October 6. Performances are Tuesday through Fridays at 7:30 pm (no performances Oct. 2 & 3); Saturdays at 1:00 pm, 4:30 pm, and 8:00 pm; and Sundays at 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm. Tickets for the engagement are priced at $39.99 – $79.99, with a limited number of premium seats at $99.99 available, and are on are on sale at the Paramount Center box office (559 Washington St., Boston’s Theatre District), online at https://paramountboston.org/ or by calling 617.824.8000.