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Award-nominated Potted Potter' hits the US for the first time

January 23, 2013
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Daniel Clarkson and Jeff Turner in 'Potted Potter' Daniel Clarkson and Jeff Turner in 'Potted Potter'

Ever wonder what it would like to hear all seven Harry Potter books told in 70 minutes? This is your chance. The on-stage performance that has played to many sold-out houses across the world, 'Potted Potter,' is coming to the Gracie Theatre in Bangor.

Created and performed by actors Daniel Clarkson and Jeff Turner, 'Potted Potter' is an attempt to tell all seven Harry Potter books to the audience in a matter of just over an hour. In this unique performance, Turner plays Harry Potter, while Clarkson takes up the task of playing all 360 other characters from the series.

'Potted Potter began over eight years ago as a simple street show meant for an audience of 60,' said Clarkson. And once he saw how much people liked the show, it wasn't a tough decision for him to expand it. 'Being a fan of Harry Potter myself, it wasn't very hard to put the time aside to extend it into a full-length show,' he said during a phone interview. 'It then took us about three to four months to see the original sketch we had and extend it into an hour long show.'

'Potted Potter' wouldn't have been possible without the help of Jeff Turner. Clarkson realized he would need someone else to play Harry Potter. While in London, he saw Turner performing 'Treasure Island' on the street and when leaving afterwards with him, saw that he would be perfect for the part.

'Looking at him, if you squint sort of and shut your eyes, he sort of looks a bit like Harry Potter,' he said. 'So we shared a few drinks, saw we had the same interests in comedy and brought him in to play Harry Potter in the shows.'

Clarkson has always been a huge fan of Harry Potter. His favorite book? 'I really like the fifth book, as it takes a darker tone and really starts to change as Harry grows up.'

As to the character he enjoys portraying the most, Clarkson says it is none other than Harry's arch nemesis Lord Voldemort. 'I truly believe Voldemort is misunderstood. Here you've got probably the greatest wizard and dark lord of all time, yet he keeps getting beaten by an 11-year-

old schoolboy.' Clarkson and Turner have had the honor

of performing 'Potted Potter' in front of cast members of the Harry Potter films. Visiting were various students of Hogwarts, including Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) and Clarkson's personal favorite Warwick Davis, who played Professor Flitwick (along with Wicket the Ewok from the Star Wars films). Unfortunately, author J.K. Rowling may have shown up only to then be sent away.

'At the last day of the last show of a tour in Edinburgh, we had the box office girl coming in floods of tears. Turns out she believed Rowling had come to buy a ticket and they told her it was sold out and sent her away, not realizing it was Rowling until she had left.' Now, one seat always remains open in hope that the famous author will one day come to see the show.

Not having been in the United States very often, Clarkson has enjoyed his time here and wants to stay as long as he can. 'I'm getting to see all these places in America that I'd never normally see, see different people, and see a whole sort of different culture,' he said. He has visited just about every museum in Chicago and looks forward to seeing the Liberty Bell when making a stop in Philadelphia. Given the relatively low snowfall in London, he has felt like he is a part of 'It's A Wonderful Life' while in America, and looks forward to seeing plenty more when making his way up to Maine.

Whether you have read the series a hundred times or are just being introduced to Harry Potter for the first time, 'Potted Potter' can be enjoyed by everyone and is definitely a performance not to miss out on. Clarkson says the great part of the show is the audience being able to participate in something unlike anything seen before. 'We have a live game of quidditch, and so the whole audience gets to play the game. We have seekers on stage, a snitch flying around, quaffles being thrown everywhere - so if nothing else, come along and enjoy a game of quidditch with us.'

'Potted Potter' comes to the Gracie Theatre on Jan. 27 for two performances at 3 and 8 p.m. For tickets or more information, visit gracietheatre. com or call the box office at 941-7051.

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