Spontaneous Potter is an improvised comedy show performed by The Spontaneous Players. The actors take a title suggestion from the audience, inspired by Harry Potter and improvise a whole show based around the title which creates an exciting, unpredictable and hilarious atmosphere. Of course, the story is based around Harry Potter with the actors playing several different characters from the iconic books and movies. However, this is just one aspect of the show as the actors take different twists and turns, involving cultural references and in our time slot, even including Her Majesty as a divination teacher.
First impressions, the stage was very stripped back with only four chairs in the centre. That’s what I love about the fringe; no frills. Recently I have found the focus is on grand sets and spectacular costumes, rather than the performance itself. The actors entered the stage with amazing energy which they kept up the entire performance. The actors performing were Paul Connelly, Mara Joy, Stu Murphy and Will Naahem. Sam Irving is also listed on their website, however he was not performing on this date. All the cast are very experienced in improv and it shows! They all have a talent for bouncing off each other’s ideas and creating something side-splittingly funny.
The audience chooses a title for the show which the actors use as a stimulus to improvise the whole show; their performance is totally different every time. Improv is great for that ephemeral environment you expect in a theatre. Anything could happen and you feel you’re in on the joke, like being a kid with your friends making up an imaginary game. I find it’s tricky to find that sweet spot with improv. You either roll with the punches, get some good jokes and create a ridiculous reality or you end up teleporting to those awkward college classes where no one has the slightest idea what to do. The Spontaneous Players continuously hit that sweet spot and had the audience cackling at their ridiculousness. There were a few dips however where actors spoke over each other, but of course this is to be expected when you don’t have lines. Some scenes also felt a bit slow to begin with as they got into character and set the scene. However, once they have you immersed in the story, you forget about the technicalities and just enjoy the silliness. A bit of tightening up on their back and forth would give a more professional feel, much like Showstoppers who also do improv.
Throughout the performance, Jenny Laahs played different themes and interludes on the keyboard. Her talent of finding the right music to fit the scene was brilliant. From slow, solemn ballads during emotional monologues, to Rule Britannia at the Buckingham Palace (spoiler alert- Prince Charles is in fact Lord Voldemort in disguise). This was a great touch to the show and made you forget “this is being made on the spot”. The music tied everything nicely in a bow and added another element to the improv; Jenny was also improvising on the keyboard.
Spontaneous Potter is a mix of great improv acting, atmospheric music and silliness. When compared to a show like Showstoppers, Spontaneous Players are not quite as polished. In saying that, they provided the same fun and silly atmosphere. I would highly recommend you see Spontaneous Potter for a good giggle, even if you haven’t seen the films or read the books. Harry Potter is the background but the stories they tell are original, hilarious and of course spontaneous. If the wizarding world still isn’t your thing, the Edinburgh based troupe are doing a UK tour of their Spontaneous Sherlock show.
Get your tickets for ‘Spontaneous Potter’ – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/spontaneous-potter-the-unofficial-improvised-parody