Harry Potter and the Evening of Laughter

A parody of Harry Potter? Sacrilege, you say. Umm. Not quite.

Just ten minutes into the hilarious show Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Experience, it became obvious that Dan and Jeff, the two comedians and actors bringing this show to Dubai, ­have a tremendous amount of affection for and knowledge of the series.

The guys were in DUCTAC the weekend of September 15, 16 and 17, performing at the Centrepoint theatre. We went for the 7 PM show on Friday, September 16 with kids in tow, because as the promotional material says, the show is open to everyone from ages 6 to Dumbledore.

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I don’t want to give away too much of the meat of the show, so here’s a rough outline of its basic premise. Jeff, who is a Harry Potter fanatic, and his pal Dan (who doesn’t have quite the same fervour), plan to showcase all 7 books in 70 minutes, on stage. Dan has been tasked with hiring the best actors for the job, and coming up with the best sets to keep the audience spellbound. Dan does not exactly stick to his brief and hilarity ensues. Along the way, there’s an actual Quidditch game – surprisingly fun – plus a boxing match, a musical number, a whole host of stuffed toys, cake-eating and even a Powerpoint presentation!

Like all classic comedic duos, Jeff and Dan feed off each other. If Jeff is the straight man, then Dan is his perfect foil as the funny man. What’s quite interesting is that their brand of humour manages to cut across age groups. It is physical and silly enough to appeal to the little ones and smart enough to work for the grown-ups too. Also, the duo threw in many off-the-cuff jokes and Dubai references which made it feel less rehearsed and that much more interactive.

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The stage before the show began – yes, I do think that is meant to be the Hogwarts Express.

I can’t really comment on whether the series will work for folks who aren’t familiar with HP. As a die-hard Potter fan, I’m not in the best position to be a judge of that. Certainly, I think you’ll get more of the references and jokes if you’ve read the books or watched the movies.  My son, who’s as much a Potter fan as I am, was skeptical about the whole thing at the start, and kept asking me how two guys could pull off something this ambitious by themselves. Well his loud laughter from start to finish made it evident that his question had been answered convincingly! So much so that he has agreed to accompany me to more stage performances and is willing to see it as an exciting alternative to his favourite games and movies.

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Two Harry Potter fans prepare to be entertained, and were not disappointed. 

There are some clips of their act on YouTube, but I personally would suggest not watching anything beforehand if you’re planning to catch the show. DUCTAC also requests you not to take photos or film their programmes, so I have no images from the show to share.

Apparently the team also have a show called Potted Sherlock out. I do hope they’ll bring it to Dubai – I’ll be first in line to watch it, eat your heart out Cumberbatch.