When entering the theatre in the round for Voldemort and the Teenage Hogwarts Musical Parody, you are greeted by an array of glass boxes, which you’ll be seated inside. This is TheatreWorks’ approach to a COVID-safe, socially distant theatre experience. Each row of seating has a different flag hanging from the ceiling, which represents the house into which audience members are sorted: Griffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin.
‘This year, the Quidditch championships are cancelled, so instead Dumbledore thinks an alternative may be best: a battle of the bands.’
Voldemort and the Teenage Hogwarts Musical Parody is set in the 1940s, when Tom Riddle (Alex Donnelly), who later becomes Voldemort, is still a teenager. The musical comedy explains what made him take a turn down a dark path. His teacher, Dumbledore (Ellis Dolan), attempts to prevent this, pressuring Tom to apply his passion towards other things, such as song-writing. This year, the Quidditch championships are cancelled, so instead Dumbledore thinks an alternative may be best: a battle of the bands. The different houses will compete in a musical spectacular.
The main plot revolves around Tom and his girlfriend Muffin (Mel O’Brien), a gentle bread-eating Hufflepuff who spends her time trying to make him a better person. That the show is intended as a Harry Potter musical parody is specified multiple times in the opening number. The performance is riddled with adult gags, to keep you laughing all the way through. The script doesn’t stick closely to any of the plot-lines of the Harry Potter books: this is a new comedic adventure, starring characters from the original series, plus a few extras.
The target audience for this show are older people who enjoy the nostalgia of Harry Potter, as this performance is most definitely not child appropriate. Highlights of the show were the operatic and misunderstood Hagrid (Jay Hagget), and Dumbledore, whose comedic timing was perfectly on point.
Though lacking in diversity, the cast of seven were all extremely talented, with impressive vocal skills, with the show being fantastically choreographed. Most of the jokes were well delivered and received an audience response, but some fell flat due to the fast-paced nature of the performance. The show is packed with songs, in classic musical fashion, which were all catchy, though are some better than others, with a few theatre-shaking moments.
‘Though lacking in diversity, the cast of seven were all extremely talented, with impressive vocal skills, with the show being fantastically choreographed.’
The end of the opening night performance was greeted with a well-deserved standing ovation, with everyone chattering about how remarkable it was in the foyer afterwards. Overall, Voldemort and the Teenage Hogwarts Musical Parody is a comedic and energetic nostalgia – filled comedic parody of the stories many know and love.
Rating: 3½ stars out of 5 ★★★☆
Voldemort and the Teenage Hogwarts: Musical Parody
Written by Fiona Landers, Reuben James, and Richie Root
Theatre Works, Melbourne, VIC
12 March-10 April 2021
A note from Theatre Works: Voldemort and the Teenage Hogwarts is not authorised, sanctioned, licensed or endorsed by J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros. or any person or company associated with the Harry Potter books, films or play.