Arts & Entertainment
Have you ever thought Voldemort was just a misunderstood wizard who needed a hug?
The creators of Potted Potter did.
The parody show, which opens in Wellington on October 31, tells the story of the seven Harry Potter books in 70 minutes.
Creator Daniel Clarkson said he and fellow creator Jefferson Turner enjoyed making the audience laugh at the characters, including Voldemort.
"I firmly believe that Voldemort is very misunderstood," he said.
"He just needs a hug and then everything would be OK.
"I mean, you have to feel sorry for Voldemort. He is the greatest evil wizard of all time, yet this 11-year-old schoolboy keeps on beating him.
"That's not going to be good for your ego.
"I can see Voldemort sitting on the psychiatrist's couch just crying, and that's why we try to portray him like that to the audience.
"I'm sure if you went to his house he would have a little fluffy kitten that he looked after. The snake is purely for show.
"Honestly it's in there [the books]. It's the subtext. You just have to read between the lines on this one."
The show was created in 2005 to entertain crowds waiting for the sixth Harry Potter book outside a London bookshop.
Turner said that when he was asked to create the show with Clarkson, he had not even read the books.
That helped them put the show together, he said.
"Basically I got Dan to tell me the story of each book from his memory, which we decided would probably mean those were the most important plot points," he said.
"We then went back and both read the books and found the great gaping holes that Dan's memory had left out and filled in a few of those.
"In the end, though, we are really not scared to drop 500 pages of plot points to get a cheap laugh from a silly wig."
The show has since played five times at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, sold out five seasons in London's West End and toured internationally.
Clarkson said his favourite part of the show was the quidditch match.
"We play a full game of quidditch with the audience," he said.
"We have quaffles flying around and people can score goals.
"We have a snitch on stage and people come up on to the stage to play seeker.
"I enjoy it because it's the only part of the show that's different every time, because you can't predict what the audience is going to do."
He said he was always surprised when he heard there were people who had not read the books.
"It turns out some people haven't read the books, which is shocking," he said.
"Some haven't even watched the movies. It really pains me to say that these people exist in the world and are allowed to roam free.
"They should be locked up until they have read them. I don't think that's too harsh. It would be a happier world we would all live in."
Clarkson and Turner said they were always looking for other popular book series to turn into theatre shows, but would not do Twilight.
"We did look at Twilight because a year or two ago it was huge. But there's practically no plot line whatsoever, so we'd struggle to get a 70-minute show out of it even if we included everything," Turner said.
"It really is the weirdest story. It's a 900-year-old man chasing after a teenage girl. I wonder how on Earth that suddenly became pop culture.
"Unless you are a 13-year-old girl you shouldn't be interested in it." Potted Potter, The Opera House from October 31 till November 4.
- The Wellingtonian