WANTING to be first in line to buy the sixth Harry Potter book in 2005 took London actor Daniel Clarkson’s career in an unexpected direction.
Clarkson requested the VIP treatment in return for performing at the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince midnight launch, where he and actor Jefferson Turner created a one-off 15-minute sketch at the bookshop incorporating the first five Harry Potter books.
The reaction was so good, the pair decided to add the sixth book, extend it to 60 minutes and take the show to Edinburgh Fringe.
“We took it to Edinburgh in a 50-seater (theatre), thinking that might just be it and we sold out our show before we even got there, which is almost unheard of at Fringe,” Clarkson said.
“The reviews were very complimentary and a producer saw the show and asked if we’d like to tour the UK. We were two 26-year-old actors who couldn’t believe we were going to get paid to be wizards. It went in to the West End, then America and now we’re coming back to Australia. I guess we’re just two mates messing around who can’t believe their luck.”
Potted Potter now features all seven books in a 70-minute two-hander performance, with one actor playing Harry Potter and the second playing all 360 other characters.
The multi-character role is what Clarkson will perform on the production’s Australian return, with Scotsman Scott Hoatson replacing Turner as Potter.
“I have a great time playing them all,” Clarkson said.
“Any actor who got to play the characters in the films, like the late Alan Rickman who was amazing as Snape, only got to play Snape. I get to play Dumbledore and Snape.
“I play everyone from Hermione to ‘he who should not be named’ to a giant serpent to a fire-breathing dragon. At six foot four, my Hermione is really quite something to see and worth the ticket price alone. And we do have a live game of Quidditch in the show.”
Clarkson said it was important whenever parodying anything that the performers loved the subject matter.
“That’s why I would never do a show about Twilight because they’re awful,” he said.
“When we were in New York a fan website said we made the jokes the fans would make themselves.”
What: Potted Potter
Where: Heath Ledger Theatre
When: September 26 to 30