Sublimely potty and done with the lightest of touches, this daft two-man parody of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter novels is a bliss fully funny 75 minutes for anyone with a passing acquaintance with the boy wizard and He Who Must Not Be Named. Like all really good parodies, Dan and Jeff’s “unauthorised Harry Experience” is both a send-up and a heartfelt homage. It also incorporates recent revelations, so that the outed Dumbledore becomes “the only wizard in the village”.
In fact, it is all terrific family entertainment, as performers and writers Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner “muggle” along with just the right mix of boyish exuberance and cack-handed charm. Dan, in particular, often seems a trifle confused between his Potter and his Lord of the Rings and Narnia adventures. Then there is his misunderstanding about the difference between Hogwarts and warthogs. And when he plays the Defence of the Dark Arts teacher, Lupin, the werewolf has inexplicably transmuted into an elephant. These mixups weigh heavily on self-appointed Harry Potter expert Jeff, all the more because Dan has used all the money set aside to employ 20 actors on the dragon in Book Four. The dragon, needless to say, turns out to be a severe disappointment.
At moments, there is a touch of the National Theatre of Brent in the prickly relationship between Dan and Jeff. This is also the only show in town in which the audience get to participate in a game of quidditch, even though Dan appears to think that a vacuum cleaner can be substituted for a Nimbus 2000 and Jeff has a trying time as the Golden Snitch. A winner in every way.