Magic in the Valley

A bit of English theater for the night

Samantha Hernandez, Reporter

“Accio more funding,” Ben Stratton exclaims onstage while in character as Albus Dumbledore. The context is Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts, attending a PTA meeting.

Potted Potter, written by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, is a parody of the popular Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. The parody was nominated for an Olivier Award in 2012, for excellence in professional theatre.

The company has toured in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, England, among others.

The play is an innovative take on the story. Two actors, Stratton and James Percy, went through all seven books in around 70 minutes. Percy played Harry Potter and it was up to Stratton to fill all the other roles.

Before the play even began, it was clear that it was going to be a unique experience. First, there was Stratton walking around and shaking hands with members of the audience. Then, there was the simple main set which consisted of a coffin, a rectangular background of a beach and a palm tree with the words “Keep Out! Forbidden Forest,” spray canned in black, and a large cupboard.

Throughout the play, there were many references with Frozen being the most memorable. There was also a scene in which the large cupboard was put to use. Stratton opened the doors to a screen and presented a PowerPoint on the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Then there was the Quidditch game. The audience was split into two teams, Slytherin and Gryffindor, and they had to score against the other side. The outcome of the game was Stratton spraying the audience with a water gun.

The finale was a parody of “I Will Survive” in which Stratton, as Lord Voldermort, sings, “as long as I’ve got 7 souls I will survive,” all while a disco ball spins on the ceiling.

Both of the energetic actors engaged with the audience in a way that made it difficult not to enjoy the show, whether or not one is a Harry Potter fan.

The show is held at the Mesa Arts Center from Feb. 18 to Feb. 22. The price range is $38 to $50.