Edinburgh Fringe is usually teeming with high-end improv shows to choose from, but pickings this year are, unsurprisingly, slim. Fear not, improverts, for among the scaled back selection is the fan favourite Spontaneous Potter, which takes audience suggestions for a near-hour-long Harry Potter story featuring all your favourite characters (Snape, Filch, Mundungus...) Today’s show, their 2021 debut, was entitled Harry Potter and the Goblet of Viagra.
For fans of the Potterverse and improv, this is always going to be a Fringe highlight.
One fun aspect of reviewing an improvised show is that we can bombard you with spoilers, as no show is ever repeated. It’s exciting for both audience and performers, as nobody knows where any scene or the overall story arc is going until the action unfolds. Goblet of Viagra opened with Draco and Voldemort, played by Will Naameh (aka MC Hammersmith) going on a murder spree of teenage Boots staff, before Harry found himself on the Hogwarts Express with the cock ring-obsessed Dobby. Later, Dumbledore inexplicably spends the whole show behind a handheld invisible curtain, Neville faces the trauma of Counsellor Snape and Ron’s penis gremlin grows to the size of Hogwarts.
The cast of 4 improvisers deftly navigate an array of classic characters, taking on voices and mannerisms which are all recognisable, with some incarnations falling noticeably flatter than others. There’s some strong lines, performances, callbacks and penis gremlins scattered throughout the show, with Will and Mara Joy pulling in way more laughs than their contemporaries.
By its very nature, one of the disadvantages of improv is that the performers are constantly thinking on their feet and everything they say immediately becomes canon, which is hard to undo - this inevitably leads to ample missed opportunities, and it feels like the team settled today without digging deep for some show-making set pieces. With a lack of killer climax and Will resisting temptation to drop one of his awe-striking freestyle raps (which you NEED to catch at MC Hammersmith’s show with PBH Free Fringe at 8pm in Canon’s Gait), this show was some way off its potential. But for fans of the Potterverse and improv, this is always going to be a Fringe highlight.