Las Vegas Sun

October 19, 2019

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Curtain Up: ‘Potted Potter’ at Bally’s, ‘Thunder From Down Under’ at Excalibur and more

Potted Potter

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Jefferson Turner and Daniel Clarkson are the cast of “Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience.”

The Harry Potter phenomenon is just as big a deal in the U.K. as it is here in the States, but fans across the pond are a little more reserved in expressing their fandom.

“It’s like if you go watch a sporting event in the U.K., a cricket match with a big crowd, they are cheering but still very polite, but if you go watch a baseball game in the U.S., it’s much more raucous and noisy, more chanting and singing,” says Daniel Clarkson, who is bringing his Potter parody show to Bally’s Las Vegas this month. “When you get to America, there’s nothing reserved about it and it’s an amazing feeling. I think the Potter phenomenon is like nothing we’ll see again. Sort of what Beatlemania was to music, Pottermania is to books and it’s great to be a small part of that experience.”

“Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience – A Parody by Dan and Jeff,” was written and created by Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, both Olivier Award-nominated BBC television actors, and it made its Vegas debut June 4 at the Windows Showroom at Bally’s. It plays at 8 p.m. Friday through Wednesday, with matinees at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and the creators will star in the comedy production through June 23. After that, a new cast will be announced.

An all-ages-appropriate show perfect for summer on the Strip, “Potted Potter” is nonstop fun whether you’re a Pottermaniac or not. “It’s like all seven books in 70 minutes, you’ll know everything in one sitting,” Clarkson says. “That’s one of the great things about the show. Years ago in New York we had a dad come up and thank us afterwards because he’d never read the books or [seen the movies] but taken his daughters to the show, and he just realized that snitch wasn’t a curse word.”

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Magician Hans Klok returns to Vegas at the Excalibur.

We knew the “Thunder From Down Under” showroom at Excalibur was under renovation, but we didn’t know about this: The longest-running and highest-grossing male revue in Las Vegas has inked a 10-year extension deal with MGM Resorts International. The Australian hunks will continue to dominate the Excalibur from the brand-new, $6 million Thunderland Showroom, which will feature three new stages in addition to the main stage and other performance areas throughout the enhanced venue as well as updated sound and lighting, special effects and hi-res LED screens. Capacity bumps up from 375 to 425 and the new Thunder Lounge will offer pre- and post-show programming. Additional 11 p.m. shows will be added on Thursdays and Sundays during peak times, expanding on the 9 p.m. nightly schedule. It’s a monumental next step for a Vegas institution and it all starts in July. Stay tuned to the Sun’s entertainment pages for much more on “Thunder” and its producers, SPI Entertainment.

The Excalibur is also the new home of renowned magician Hans Klok, who has been selling out arenas and theaters throughout Europe in the dozen or so years since he headlined at Planet Hollywood with his “Beauty of Magic” production that featured Pamela Anderson. He’s back on the Strip next month with “Hans Klok: The World’s Fastest Magician,” a 70-minute all-ages spectacle packed with 50 different illusions and the Divas of Magic dancers. The new show is also produced by SPI Entertainment and will perform nightly except Fridays at 7:30 p.m. starting July 29 at the Thunderland Showroom at Excalibur.

“The Magic of Jen Kramer” opened a little over a year ago at the Westgate Cabaret with its titular engaging star becoming the only female magician headlining at a major Las Vegas property. Kramer’s residency has been extended for two more years per an announcement at a May 29 anniversary show and cocktail reception, so she’ll continue to wow all-ages audience at the just-off-the-Strip resort. “We are confident that Jen Kramer’s name will be right alongside the other Vegas legends who have performed here,” said Dawn Rawle, vice president of marketing and entertainment. The show runs at 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.