Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience at Edison Feb. 15

4,100 pages in 70 minutes? Pure magic.

Storytellers Dan Clarkson (left) and Jeff Turner present Potted Potter Feb. 15. Photo courtesy of Seabright Productions. Download hi-res version.

At a reading speed of 250 words per minute, it would take the average adult almost three full days (without sleep or bathroom breaks) to complete J.K. Rowling’s mammothly popular Harry Potter series.

Now you can do it in 70 minutes flat, thanks to storytellers Dan Clarkson and Jeff Turner. In Potted Potter, these Olivier Award-nominated actors, and estimable humanitarians, have condensed Rowling’s seven novels into a mere 4,200 seconds — roughly one per page — of pure, unauthorized hilarity.

Next month, Clarkson and Turner will alight upon Washington University’s Edison Theatre like two champion Quidditch seekers in pursuit of the Golden Snitch. (Don’t worry, you’ll understand soon enough.)

Performances, presented as part of the Edison Ovations Series, will begin at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15. Tickets are $36, or $32 for seniors, $28 for Washington University faculty and staff and $20 for students and children.

Attendees are invited to come dressed as their favorite Potter characters.

Anything for a joke

Potted Potter began in 2005, with the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth book in the series. To entertain midnight book-buyers, Clarkson and Turner developed a punchy, five-minute street show summarizing the previous volumes.

The current iteration, expanded and updated to include all seven books, retains that manic, anything-for-a-joke ethos. Turner, looking a bit like the young Elton John, dons round glasses and a yellow fright wig to portray the titular wizard. The remaining 600-odd characters — from Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger to Dumbledore, Mad-Eye Moody and “He Who Must Not Be Named” — are left to Clarkson’s frenzied devices, abetted by a seemingly endless array of hats.

The New York Times calls Potted Potter “gloriously goofy,” adding that, “You don’t need to know all the plot twists and nuances of Hogwarts to enjoy the in-jokes, though clearly most of the delighted crowd does.”

“Like all really good parodies, Dan and Jeff’s ‘Unauthorized Harry Experience’ is both a send-up and a heartfelt homage,” adds The Guardian (UK).

“There’s sure to be an authorised stage version one day,” adds the Sunday Express, “but they will be hard pressed to summon such genuine affection and wit – let alone get the audience to play a game of Quidditch.”


Tickets and sponsors

Performances begin at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15. Tickets are $36, or $32 for seniors, $28 for Washington University faculty and staff and $20 for students and children.

Tickets are available at the Edison Box Office and through all MetroTix outlets. Edison Theatre is located in the Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.

For more information, call (314) 935-6543, e-mail edison@wustl.edu or visit edison.wustl.edu.

Edison programs are made possible with support from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; the Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis; and private contributors.