Just as much fun as it sounds!
By Narelle Wood
From the same company – Sooth Players – that brought us Completely Improvised Shakespeare, comes Completely Improvised Harry Potter for this year’s Melbourne Fringe. It’s the show that creates the Harry Potter book you’ve always wanted but was never written.
In typical improvised show style, the book title is decided on by audience suggestion. But in Harry Potter-style, suggestions are placed in the Goblet of Fire and after a brief introduction from the Sorting Hat (which from the angle I was sitting on looked more dragon-like thanks to some creepy back lighting) the suggestion is pulled from the cup. The night I attended, we were treated to Harry Potter and the Deadly Paper Cut. With Patrick Rehil taking on the role of Harry Potter and Elizabeth Donald as He Who Must Not Be Named, another year at Hogwarts – with all the dangers that ensue – unfolded before our eyes.
Apart from being genuinely funny, what really makes this show is how much Potterverse knowledge the players have and their impressive ability to use it, misuse it, and point out the plot weaknesses of the original stories (respectfully of course) and then use these to their advantage.
Thus there was an awkward Quidditch training session where Ron (Taylor Griffiths) finally admitted he was a terrible keeper, and Malfoy (Jasper Foley), in typical Malfoy fashion, spent his time lurking about, threatening to tell his dad on everyone and generally just being Malfoy. Some of the best bits though were the plots, or lack there of, devised by a surprisingly self-reflective Voldemort and Wormtail (Pedro Cooray), who were later joined by Malfoy. This year Harry Potter was going to be destroyed by a book: to be specific a metal book, that they could potentially throw at him or slam his head into. While the improvised plan to kill Harry Potter didn’t seem very well thought-out, it did nicely highlight just how ridiculous some of Voldemort’s plots in the books actually are.
There were times where it felt though the scenes were fillers, but to be fair – and as a huge Harry Potter fan – the same can be said of the books. Admittedly I would have liked a faster pace, mostly to maximise the Potter experience. Once the ending was nigh though, things came together quite quickly and resolved themselves in true Rowlings-esque style.
There was a wide variety of audience members from a few little kids to some more mature adults, all of whom seemed to thoroughly enjoy the show. The potential assumption that this is just a show for kids would be a complete misapprehension: it is a show for muggles and magical folk alike. And the best thing – given that it’s a new show every night – lots of new Harry Potter books and adventures to enjoy. Much like Voldemort, I’ll be coming back for more.
Venue: Lithuanian Club, 44 Errol St, North Melbourne
Season: 6.45pm (5.45pm Sun & no shows Mon) – until 30th September
Tickets: Full $25| Conc $20