OGDEN — For the fourth year, the Ziegfeld Theater has produced the delightfully funny A Fairly Potter Christmas Carol, a parody that cleverly interweaves pop culture and Christmas tradition. Creator Rick Rea has made a fun book, new music mixed with parodies of popular songs, and clever jokes that had the audience in stitches.
The story follows “Jerry Potter” as he goes to Hogwash school, only to discover that Father Christmas is a wizard with a strained family relationship at Hogwash, and of course there is the evil You-Know-Who that has angelic visitors from Christmas past trying to help his heart grow a few sizes. It was extremely impressive to see just how many Christmas references could be brought into one production, and I personally find Santa Claus being a wizard the most plausible explanation of the character I have ever encountered.
Having seen previous installments, I was glad to see some updates to this year’s production, especially to the set and music. The night I was there was particularly bad for the sound system, which was unfortunate with some of the songs, because it did make some of the characters impossible to understand.
The best element of humor of the night was the magic, which was executed by two “magic” characters in greenscreen material, played by Tyson Allred and Lara Vo. Being able to laugh at the elements of magic while also adding to the fun, these characters truly knew how to execute parody.
Next, it is essential to mention the character of Drake O’Malfoy, played by Bryan Andrews so flawlessly that I may end up picturing him the next time I read the original story. Jerry Potter was played by Dayne Cade, who has a nice clear voice, and quite an endearing attitude. I enjoyed his opening song, “This Could Be the Year,” and also his song in the second act “Most Miserable Time.” I look forward to seeing him in more serious roles; while he did parody well, his voice and manner may be more suited to serious musical theatre. Timothy Behuin as Bagrid and Squirmtail was absolutely in his element in this comedic role. I am extremely intrigued by his facial expressions, and find myself chuckling with each new joke and movement. He also has a very amusing moment as a coke Polar Bear that I think should be submitted to coke for a commercial.
The women in this cast were noteworthy for their strong voices. Dawn Allen, Kelsie Reynolds, Lilian Fairbank, and Gracie Sabin play various roles, and they all have different moments in which their vocal talents truly shine. A song in the second act entitled “Wait Another Day” was one example of showing what powerhouses these women are, and I wish they had been showcased even more.
Patrick Kibbie played an entirely too accurate Alan Rickman, and I do not want to ruin the joke for anyone who will be attending this production, but I will forever watch Alan Rickman in a different light and wish that I had been able to experience him in a dance club. Finally, Spencer Stevens played Spaghinni, and each year I find it more amusing how the team at the Ziegfeld Theater has tried to portray a snake in human form. The level of physical comedy needed to achieve the humor that Stevens achieved is noteworthy. There is a moment where he sheds his skin that had my 12-year-old daughter laughing so hard she had tears in her eyes.
In the end, that is where I can show the true praise in this review. I brought along a 12-year-old girl who is often bored with her mom and obsessed with her phone, but in this space of 2 hours she was slapping my shoulder with every musical reference she recognized, grinning when a character did the floss, and calling me the best mom ever for bringing her along to A Fairly Potter Christmas Carol. I love classical Christmas entertainment, but it is also awesome to support local talent, local writers, and creative parody instead of seeing the same shows every Christmas season. It is not the best production of the year for the Ziegfeld, but it may certainly be the one with the most humor. A Fairly Potter Christmas Carol is also a good way to get audiences of all ages enjoying live theatre and talking about all the classic shows that this script references. As the holiday season progresses, it is a good option to go laugh for two hours and to win the title of cool parent, aunt, or friend.