Review | Completely Improvised Potter is (slightly) magical

Completely Improvised Potter | Ibis Palace | Till 4 February | ★ ★ ★  ½ 

Performed by the Melbourne improv troupe Soothsayers, Completely Improvised Potter promises an hour of entertainment centered around J.K Rowling’s magical universe of Harry Potter.

Featuring all of your favourites, from Hogwarts to Hagrid, the show is well aware of the Harry Potter fandom. However, that may play against the show, because at the end, it felt like it was missing something. However, that could easily be attributed to the fact that the show suffered from technical difficulties.

Unfortunately for the opening night, the show was plagued by lighting problems in the venue (a hotel conference room) and the actors performed the first two scenes lit just by overhead fluros. After that, it was returned to the purple and green stage lighting, but even then, the lighting didn’t always seem to fit the performance.

During the show, Harry Potter-inspired music was used to signal changes between scenes. These were great.. when they were on cue. Otherwise, it was an awkward moment whilst the actors would wait for the cue that sometimes would never come, or appear too late to be on time.

Despite the technical problems and a little too much leaning on the die-hard fandom and lore of Harry Potter, there were great performances, such as an awkward Dumbledore and a doubtful Hermione, that allowed a save of the performance (bonus points to Gryffindor for the romantic tension built between two particular main characters that left the audience expecting something that never came).

Whilst I am a huge fan of improv and Harry Potter, and would like to think ‘Completely Improvised Potter’ would be the best of both worlds, I was unfortunately a little let down.

In all fairness, true improvisation lies upon embracing the problems and issues that come up – tech included – and whilst the actors did a great job in continuing the show, the performance still felt very much restricted by its venue and tech. I feel that on another night in a different venue, it would have been a very different show.

Fans of Harry Potter would enjoy themselves, as would general theatre-goers, however it is important to keep in mind that ‘Completely Improvised Potter’ is, as its name suggests, improvisational theatre.

Davis Burke 

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