Something wicked this way comes… Two Box Productions, the team behind Doctor Whosical the musical, are back and bring with them the most famous boy wizard who ever lived, Harry Potter – I mean, Harry POPPERS at a special preview at The Two Brewers. As a drunken JK Rowling, played brilliantly by Hayley-Marie Axe, assures us at the very beginning, this is definitely NOT the Cursed Child and it is all the better for it. Having already won the Boyz Award for Best Panto in 2017 with this production, they have slimmed it down like the Knight Bus sliding through London traffic to take it to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer, along with the equally funny Doctor Whosical.
When Harry’s gash begins to throb anew, it is up to the golden trio – brought hysterically to life by Matthew McCallion as Harry, Mark Wickens as Ron Squeezeme and Tanya Truman as the greatest witch of her generation, Hermione Minger – to save the day once again. This time it’s from the evil machinations of yet another witch hellbent on destroying the world, Lady Therevil Voldemay, the Dark Lord’s hereto unknown widow, a witch so evil she not only made England crash out of the World Cup, but she also brought Trump to the UK. Lawrence Bolton steals every scene as Voldemay, making it hard not to root for her to win and get her hands on the Deathly Swallows before Harry and the gang can stop her. Featuring many of the franchise’s most beloved characters, it was Niall Hemingway’s turns as Dobby, Bellatrix, a dementor and finally Professor McGonnagal that had the audience in stitches from start to finish.
I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that even the great JK herself would enjoy every minute of Harry Poppers and the Deathly Swallows. The attention to detail and obvious love and affection the team have for the Harry Potter universe is present in every joke and every song choice, right up to the grand finale, a rendition of Little Mix’s Black Magic by the entire cast. It’s just magic, actually.