Fanfiction gets a lot of bad press when there are plenty of reasons why it should not. Yes, there is always going to be some dubious content out there, but it is a creative outlet that a lot of fans enjoy. There are websites dedicated to it, such as Archive of Our Own and Fanfiction.net, where fans can upload their own works or read the works of others. And while there will always be those who disparage it, there will always be fans who see it as a genuine source of entertainment. One such fandom that has had many a fan-written tale about it is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, created by J.K. Rowling.
However, there is a troupe of performers who have decided to take Harry Potter fan fiction one step further. The Spontaneous Players, based out of Edinburgh, have become known for their improvised comedy shows based on both Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes. Using a title suggested by a member of the audience, this highly talented bunch then proceed to have the audience crying with laughter as they craft a unique story, meaning every show is different and no one knows what to expect. Currently on tour with their Spontaneous Potter, we had the luck of seeing them perform in Cardiff and the evening was even more bonkers then anticipated.
Paul Connolly, Sam Irving and Will Naameh were on stage portraying the myriad of colourful characters, with stunning musical accompaniment by Jenny Laahs on the piano. The audience were invited to fill in the slips of paper left on their chairs with not just a suggestion for a Harry Potter story, but also a scene they would have liked to have seen in a story but was never done. The show was then split, with the actors improvising some of the short scenes before they picked one title to turn into a full production.
The title we suggested was Harry Potter and the Slumber Party of Evil, and a scene involving Harry’s voice breaking and other unfortunate puberty situations. Sadly neither of these got pulled from the hat but we were not disappointed with what we saw. The three performers then entertained us with randomly selected small scenes such as Pensives of Dumbledore’s Drunken Nights, Hippogriff that wanted to be a balloon, and Hermione discovering that she was the love child of Snape and Dolores Umbridge. Shudder!
READ MORE: Hymns For Robots – Theatre Review
After having everyone crying with laughter, with these short scenes, the troupe moved on to the main event and the title selected for the show was… Harry Potter and the Secret Stash of Draco’s Fan Fiction!
It was an epic tale, in which Harry did not overly much, Hermione was struggling with drug addiction, Ron was mostly clueless, and Moaning Myrtle’s moans… were far more sexual than J.K. Rowling probably ever expected them to be. Characters from Charles Dickens’ stories escaped from a book to wreak havoc on Hogwarts, and Draco desperately tried to avoid being thrown into the Malfoy pit due to his wanting real friends. It was a whirlwind, at points it made no sense to anyone, not even the actors, but we have never laughed so hard.
One of the things that makes the show even funnier is that the performers clearly know their Potter, and are able to draw on that knowledge throughout. The jokes do not fall flat, and even though there are moments when the improvisation can stump one of the troupe it never derails the whole show. Maybe next time we see them we will get to see Harry Potter and the Knock On Effect of Brexit on the Triwizard Cup.
We highly recommend catching The Spontaneous Players if you can. They perform weekly all year in Edinburgh, regularly tour across the UK and will be part of this years Edinburgh Fringe Festival. More information can be found on their website. Accio tickets!