In 70 minutes, Daniel Clarkson and Jeff Turner, the madcap comedians behind Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience, manage to speed through the entire Harry Potter series, conduct an audience-wide Quidditch match, and cover the Paramount Center stage with crumbs of Boston cream pie.
Though Potter aficionados may laugh the hardest at the meticulous, Monty Python-like absurdity of Potted Potter, it's a show that even a lowly Muggle (a.k.a., cursed non-book reader) can enjoy.
Clarkson and Turner set out to tell the entire Potter story in 70 minutes, armed with just a toy train (the Hogwarts Express), a backdrop depicting a palm tree (the Forbidden Forest), a coffin, and a cabinet full of wigs, puppets and costumes.
Turner plays the titular bespectacled wizard, as well as serving as the narrator reading from each book while on stage. A self-proclaimed Potter expert, Turner becomes exasperated at his partner Clarkson for his mismanagement of funds (he didn't hire any other actors because he says he spent all the money on a spectacular dragon for the Goblet of Fire sequence) and for his lack of Potter knowledge (Clarkson claims to have not even read book 7 at the start of the show).
Clarkson plays the rest of the characters (probably 60 or so) to hilarious effect, either because of how accurate his portrayal is (i.e., Ron Weasley's fractured Cockney accent) or how inaccurate it is (i.e., Sirius Black sounding like a New York construction worker). The pair makes numerous references to other fantasy books and other aspects of pop culture, the best being the jabs at the musical Wicked, which just ended its run at the neighboring Boston Opera House.
Not every joke lands, simply because there are so many of them. Some of the pair's funniest ad-libs occured when the American crowd didn't get one of their British references, such as one to Watership Down.
But the show is worth it just for the inter-audience Quidditch match, which highlighted the show's interactive, improvisational and family-friendly nature. At our show, a 12-year-old girl ended up form-tackling one of the cast members.
I won't spoil the details -- you'll just have to find out for yourself.
Follow Pete McQuaid on Twitter @sweetestpete.