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Fringe Review: PotterVision @ Espionage

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One of the free performances of the festival, and nearby to Elephant House where J.K. Rowling worked on her novels, PotterVision is, at least for this performance, a two-man act that retells the majority of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in one hour.

Complete with budget wigs and props, the two stand-up comedians, Tom Lawrinson and Lukas Kirkby, complement each other as Kirkby leaps between costume changes, displaying an array of pantomime voices with manic and comically exasperated energy, whilst Lawrinson casually leans against the overhead air-conditioning unit spouting dry, deadpan humour.

The performance, opening with a carnivalesque announcement behind the semi-translucent stage curtain, jumps into the Privet Drive scene after debate between the two actors on whether or not to use the alternative ‘terrorist’ script and setting the scene by explaining to the audience that the rest of their cast have ran away with their ‘official’ costumes. Most of the initial humour comes from the severe impracticality of Kirkby changing between the three Dursleys and Hagrid whilst Lawrinson solely plays Harry Potter because, “Harry doesn’t really have to do anything”.

As the narrative continues, the pair begin to swap roles and the pace of the performance accelerates. Jokes for the book-reading fans were thrown in from knowing that, “Ron hates maroon” to a continual gag about nobody knowing how to pronounce Hermione’s name. The slapstick takes on a bawdy vibe when the Harry and Ron discuss a “Hagrid’s bumhole” flavoured bean and then go further to share the bean between each other from their mouths.

This is repeated on a, remarkably, unphased audience member who then proceeded to chew the jelly bean for the rest of the show. Recurring gags like this really fuelled the show with one centring around the actors quoting lines from the wrong book to another were Kirby continued to misremember Snape having the iconic catchphrase of, “Tatty-bye, boys”

I felt like the performance, as it hurtled to a close, did lose some of its charm by the time Harry encountered Voldemort, despite the hilarious visual humour of watching two men trying to fit inside one hoodie to act as a talking head. I would say the show was actually saved by the final two-minute segment which re-enacted Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, complete with flying car (a toy car carried through the audience), a whomping willow (a pair of twigs), and another final showdown with the dark lord (Kirkby holding a toy snake whilst Lawrinson bends the spine of a notebook).

But, overall, PotterVision really played to the B-Movie vibe of no-frills, comedy theatre. For a free show, it’s a fun ride not to be missed.

PotterVision will be running at the Espionage venue (#185) until the 26th August, and more info can be found here.

This article is part of our coverage of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Click here to read other articles written by our contributors. 
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