Potted Potter – Co-Creator Daniel Clarkson: Parodies Come From A Place Of Love

'Potted Potter'
Solar-powered journalist with a love for live reviews and the challenge of describing sounds with words. Always: cooking, often: thrifting, sometimes: playing the piano, rarely: social, never: late. Living abroad in Japan.

A show parodying the world’s most famous fantasy series was, theoretically, born in the bedroom of the co-writer's younger brother.

“I was going to say that I’m a ‘closet’ geek, but I think if you’ve made a show about 'Harry Potter' – you’re an obvious one,” Co-Creator Daniel Clarkson laughs.

“I used to read the stories to my younger brother. I remember he’d fall asleep, and I would carry on reading.”

Years later, Dan was asked to prepare a parody skit with fellow actor and friend, Jefferson Turner. The theme? 'Harry Potter'. The audience? A queue of mega-fans lining up to snag a copy of the sixth book at midnight.

“I stand by the fact that if you squinted your eyes at Jeff, he did look a BIT like Daniel Radcliffe,” Dan says. “Though these days, he looks more like Elton John.”

That same skit was swept from the streets to the stage, ‘Potted Potter’ adapted into an hour-long performance for the Edinburgh Festival.

“From there, it grew – we added the seventh book, it started touring UK theatres, and then the West End in London. We took it to North America and toured Canada, then New York, and then, the cherry on top – Australia.”

Now, 'Potted Potter' has delighted audiences for almost a decade – and is returning to Australian shores.

PottedPotter 2024 2

“Even if you did see it ten years ago, it would now be a completely different show,” Dan explains.

The story envelops all seven 'Harry Potter' novels, squeezing the enormous series into 70 short minutes.

"And that includes a live game of quidditch. In a THEATRE. There’s only two cast members, originally myself and Jeff. Jeff was Harry Potter, and I played all 260 other characters. I obviously think my role was tougher, but Jeff would tell you that it’s harder to play Harry, because he’s ‘very complex’.”

Dan and Jeff have since passed the wands to new performers, the task of which Dan compared to ‘leaving your child with a babysitter for the first time’.

“But they’re wonderful, Scott [Hoatson] and Brendan [Murphy]. We’ve worked with them for years.”

Although Dan is a life-long 'Harry Potter' fan, he insists the parody performance is just as enjoyable for muggles as it is for wizards – young and old.

Potted Potter WizardHat

“We had a dad who brought his kids along, and thanked us afterwards, because he finally learned that ‘snitch’ wasn’t a swear word,” Dan laughs. “But MAKING a parody show needs to come from a place of love, I think. That’s why we wouldn't do 'Twilight' – because that series is truly awful.”

Despite hanging up the robes (Hufflepuff, he reveals) for now, Dan is hoping new shows in the works could see him back under the Australian sun for Christmas in the future.

“I want to have Christmas in the summer, I’ve never done that. We have snow. but I’d love to see Father Christmas on a surfboard.”

Until then, 'Potted Potter' will mount its broom and fly its way across the country throughout April and May.

“I remember sitting on the London Underground at midnight, reading book five, and I audibly gasped. And there was a man sitting opposite me who said, ‘Sirius just died, didn’t he?’ And gave me a hug!

“So many people grew up on these books – they were part of their childhood, and now, they’re passing them down to their children. And the message of everyone coming together – muggles, half-bloods and wizards – to defeat evil. . . That’s nice, right? If we all did that, what a wonderful world we’d live in!”

‘Potted Potter’ 2024 Australia Tour Dates

4-7 April – Canberra Theatre Centre
12-21 April – Seymour Centre (Sydney)
24 April-5 May – Athenaeum Theatre (Melbourne)
10-12 May – Adelaide Festival Centre
23-26 May – State Theatre Centre (Perth)

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