Is there anybody who can play boy wizard Harry Potter better than Daniel Radcliffe?
English actor and stand-up comedian James Percy thinks he fits the bill - jokingly, of course.
Audiences can judge for themselves when Percy, 28, portrays Potter in live comedy Potted Potter - The Unauthorized Harry Experience when it is staged here from tomorrow till Sunday. "Do I make a better Potter? Yes, sure, why not? My (portrayal of) Harry would be more mature, but only because I'm older... but if Daniel Radcliffe asks, tell him I'm really only joking!" Percy told The New Paper in a telephone interview hours after he arrived in town on Friday.
The comedy's name is a dead giveaway. It is a hilarious spin on the well-loved series by J. K. Rowling and it was last staged in Singapore two years ago with different actors. Percy will be accompanied by fellow English actor Benjamin Stratton, who will take on familiar characters in the popular series as they attempt to condense all seven Harry Potter books into just 70 minutes.
The audience can expect quirky props, clever humour and even an engaging game of the wizarding sport Quidditch that involves the pair calling for audience participation. Percy, a law graduate-turned-performer, has toured the US and Ireland, performing to both children and adults, avid Harry Potter fans and non-fans alike.
He often sees Harry Potter fans dressed to the nines in wizard robes with badges belonging to the four houses at Hogwarts - Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff - and wielding fake wands.
One dedicated American fan took her obsession even further.
"She had some 20 tattoos all over her body, including one of the logos of the four houses on her back and a Golden Snitch on her shoulder. It blew me away," Percy recalled. Like the main stars of the movie series, Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, both Percy and Stratton have fans of their own.
Percy said: "They write us letters from 'Hogwarts' and send presents. Once, a fan even baked us an apple pie. There are some fans who follow us from show to show."
He is looking forward to meeting the fans in Singapore. The production's other stops include Dubai, Hong Kong, Manila, Toronto and Australia.
There is one special face whom Percy hopes to see in the audience someday - author Rowling herself. One special seat is always left empty for Rowling at every show, just in case she turns up.
A person believed to be her was once turned away at a sold-out show in Edinburgh by a ticketing officer who failed to recognise the famous writer. Percy, who calls himself a big fan of her works, said that spotting her in the crowd at a show would be a dream come true.
"I'm not sure I'll be able to get any words out on stage... I'll be like a rabbit caught in the headlights," he said with a laugh.
WHEN: Tues & Wed: 7.30pm, Thurs to Sun: 5pm and 7.30pm
WHERE: Jubilee Hall, Raffles Hotel
TICKETS: $70 and $85 from Sistic at www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555
This article was first published on September 08, 2014.
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