With no shortage of drama, hijinks and a surfeit of musical talent, this unauthorised musical parody is pure gold for Harry Potter fans. It is 1942 and we are in Hogwarts castle. There, Professor Dumbledore (Ellis Dolan) is holding court trying to control his students.
Among them are Muffin Rows (Mel O’Brien), who has a penchant for the sweet treats and a thing for the evil-minded Tom Riddle (Alex Donnelly), the forerunner to Lord Voldemort. Riddle – who has a pet snake named Jonathan – treats Hagrid (Jay Haggett) with disdain.
Among Muffin’s friends is dullard Derald Bacon (Jonathon Shilling). Her adversary is Genevieve Griffyndor (Stephanie John). Readily dismissed by Dumbledore is Myrtle Warren (Emily Hansford), for whom he has little time or patience. Even Harry, Hermione and Ron put in an appearance, courtesy of a Time Turner.
When Dumbledore announces the Quidditch competition has been cancelled, the students are less than enamoured. But they need not fear, for instead the four houses – Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff – will compete in a battle of the bands.
And then the unthinkable happens … leading to an investigation and an unexpected result, after which there are still twists aplenty to come. That includes a dastardly ending that is highly appropriate, given the trajectory of the Potterverse.
Voldemort and the Teenage Hogwarts Musical Parody is heaps of fun. There is a lot going on – all the time. I love the plotting. Ellis Dolan makes for an imposing Dumbledore. He has a big personality and a big voice to boot. Much of the plot revolves around Muffin Rows and Mel O’Brien makes that her own, with a good natured “look at me” performance.
Jonathon Shilling does snivelling well, while attitude and strong vocalisation is the hallmark of Stephanie John as Genevieve Griffyndor. Perhaps the most impressive of the lot tonally is Jay Haggett, whose character, Hagrid, is a sensitive soul taken by motorbikes. In fact, all the performers more than hold their own.
I particularly appreciated the rousing chorus numbers. Scott Passarella is responsible for the music. Writers Fiona Landers, Reuben James and Richie Root have created a real crowd pleaser – one to put a big smile on the audience’s collective dial.
My only frustration was that the specially constructed, highly responsible COVID-19 Perspex booths at Theatre Works “blocked” a clear understanding of some of the dialogue. Nevertheless, there’s a lot to appreciate and get excited by in Voldemort and the Teenage Hogwarts Musical Parody, which Miranda Middleton directs and choreographs. Sixty minutes without interval, it is playing at Theatre Works until 10th April, 2021.
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- 50 Shades! A Musical Parody (Alex Theatre) – theatre review
- Puffs (Alex Theatre) – theatre review
- School of Rock: The Musical (Her Majesty’s) – theatre review
Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.