OGDEN – In 2013 I reviewed Fairly Potter, a parody that played at the Ziegfeld Theater in Ogden and was written by Rick Rea. For their Christmas show this year, Rick Rea has returned to the Harry Potter Parody and infused it with classic Christmas tales, and a little spoof of some modern tales as well. Several of the cast have returned, and new faces have been added to this Christmas special. I can say that those who enjoyed Fairly Potter will certainly love this new installment. While it was quite witty and entertaining, the first installment had a bit more of a humorous kick to it, perhaps because of the novelty at that time which was now expected for me rather than surprising. For those who did not see the first installment of Fairly Potter, some of the jokes will probably seem as fresh and exciting as they did when the first show was produced.
The story follows the combining of the wizarding world of Harry Potter with the updating of the tale of Santa Clause to show that his powers may have come from the wizarding world. The take was amusing and interesting. The first thing that I noticed when coming into the theatre was the set, with the look of the Hogwarts castle decorated with Christmas lights and other props. I was very impressed with the set design by Caleb Parry, and felt that the set coupled with the lighting by Daniel Pack made for a very visually pleasing show. There was a scene where the lighting was changed to reflect the magic happening, which was an excellent way to involve the audience more fully into the feel of the story. Director Morgan Parry also made good choices in regards to using the stage space with the actors, and I found this especially interesting during the song “It’s Snowing” where several of the characters had scenes in succession, and the placement of each of the scenes was well thought out.
All of the characters had strong vocals, and the originality of the songs written by Rick Rea was impressive. My favorite musical number had to be “Wait Another Day” sung by Hermione, Ginny, and Pansy, played by Morgan Call, Eliza Haynie, and KelliAnn Johnson. The song was not only vocalized well, but the comedic timing between the three characters, as well as the supporting characters, was superb. Also the blending of harmonies in this song was perhaps the best of the night.
Draco and his crew, played by Bryan Andrews, Keegan Christensen, and Mejai Perry, made me want to go back and read the stories again with this new characterization, because I find it more amusing and interesting than the original characters. I was happy every time they came on stage.
This installment felt a bit longer than the first, and perhaps even too long in some points, such as right before the end of the first act. However, when the comedy was strong, it hit all the necessary elements in order to bring loud laughter from the audience. One of the best characters, a return from the first show, was Nagini the snake, played by Reeve Boyd. Each time he entered the stage, he was able to quietly and effectively steal the show with physical humor and facial expressions. It is impressive for the character with the fewest lines to be one of the best comedic actors of the evening.
Many of the jokes require at least a small knowledge of Harry Potter, as well as theater culture, movie culture, and Utah culture. Some of the best jokes in my opinion involved an absolutely excellent scene regarding orphans, the mocking of Kale, selfie sticks, and also a jab at other theatre companies in the valley.
This was a fun night of humor and Christmas cheer, a little different than what you might get anywhere else in the Utah theatre scene. The Ziegfeld has produced a lot of great shows this year, and it is nice to see them let their hair down and have a little fun to close out the year on a note of laughter.