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Monday, 10 December 2012 14:19

'Stupefy!: The 90 Minute Harry Potter' at Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre

Written by Robert Mitchell
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'Stupefy!: The 90 Minute Harry Potter' at Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre
stlshakespeare.org

Stupefy: The 90 Minute Harry Potter happily manages to "stupefy" in both senses of the word!

Well, those kooky kids over at Magic Smoking Monkey have done it again! These maniacs, who in the past have lovingly skewered some of the most beloved movies of all time, including the Star Wars Trilogy, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and even – gasp – Valley of the Dolls, have managed to hilariously desecrate yet another venerable Hollywood classic; this time daring to stomp on the dreams of little kids of all ages by taking on all EIGHT Harry Potter movies with Stupefy!: The 90 Minute Harry Potter, bravely and affectionately adapted by Jaysen Cryer.

I’m not even going to try to summarize 19 hours and 38 minutes of movie, but somehow Cryer, director Suki Peters, and 17 hard-working actors were insane enough to do just that, zooming off to lampoon every aspect of Hogwarts world from student body to faculty to Mudblood to evil underworld, in a scant 90 minutes.My only problem is that it might (of necessity) go too quickly, if you haven’t seen all eight movies (which I haven’t, but I have read all seven movies, so I had no problem). There are too many highlights to be capsulized in a short review, but for me, they included: dropkicking the baby Harry Potter (now THERE’S a way to start off a show!), the chaotically choreographed Quidditch matches, Dumbledore’s reaction to “The Goblet of Fire”, Moaning Myrtle’s slightly exaggerated reaction to living boys, the destruction of the Horcruxes, the low-rent wand battles, the transformation of Ginny Weasley,  and even a “Snakes On A Plane” reference.

This production is directed with wild abandon by the undisputed Mistress of All Things Geeky, Suki Peters. There is something definitely wrong with this girl, because she doesn’t miss a trick, or a joke, on her way to burlesque all things J. K. Rowlings.

Her cast is anchored by the big three: the author himself, Jaysen Cryer, plays goofy Ginger Ron Weasley, Betsy Bowman somehow manages to gloriously out-Emma-Watson Emma Watson’s snarkiness, as Hermoine Granger, and  Michael Pierce is our self-righteous hero Harry Potter. All three shine, and seem to have the utmost of fun. But the supporting cast are all great, too, AND while playing multiple roles. Standouts include Robert Ashton as Gandolf – I mean, Albus Dumbledore, Roger Erb as bitchy Draco Malfoy, but even better as a preening Cedric Diggory, Max Knocke as both a very silly big-eared Dobby, and then  delivering Neville’s patented King Hal-slash-Braveheart-slash-Goonies speech from the last movie, and John Foughty, in a not-very-scary rubber-mask, as He-Who-Must-Not--Be-Named, complete with a ridiculous Elmer Fudd accent.

The rest of the cast is equally as good, and deserve to be applauded: Blaine Adams, James Enstall, Andrew Kuhlman, Carl Overly, Jamie Pitt, Sarah Porter, Rob Suozzi, Tasha Zebrowski, Morgan Hatfield and Jaiymz Hawkins.

Magic Smoking Monkey has upped their game technically, too.  A large set by Juan Schwartz, the stone walls of Hogwarts bookended by a pair of stone Christmas Trees, also incorporates projections, both to introduce each movie installment and in-scene itself, using numerous stills and video to help the magic of the story. Lighting by Jaime Zayas and Sound by Jeffrey Roberts keep us rooted in Rowling-Land. Costumes by Katie Donovan (and her supporting cast of a million wigs) deftly delineate dozens of characters, and props by Blaine Adams are Monkey-silly as well as practical.

Evidently, the early 7:30 show is family-friendly, and safe to brings the kids to, and you should. They’re gonna love it. The late-nite show has a decidedly more adult bite, and those bites are also delicious. So, if Christmas at Hogwarts is your cup of butterbeer, you should make the trip to see this craziness. It’s likely to be the most fun you have this holiday season.

Correction: The review originally stated that Michael Bowman played the role of Harry Potter. The role was actually played by Michael Pierce.

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