Beaufield Berry-Fisher, your Theater Editor here.
For a long time I was looking for a new solution to how we review shows in Omaha. I wanted a way that showcased multiple voices and points of view, made reviews fun, and that related with the way people ACTUALLY see theater. With friends, discussing it over drinks, and in plain terms. I thought of date nights and how many times I went out after a show and dished with my pals about what we’d just seen and the different ways it spoke to each of us. This, I thought, was the answer I’d been looking for–a relaxed and candid atmosphere in which we discuss our local theater scene and share our experiences with potential audience members. So introducing to you, DATE NIGHT REVIEWS.
Where two people of varying demographics or backgrounds, see the same show, and report back with their insights and takeaways. Holiday at Hogwarts was the perfect opportunity to kick this off–with a well-versed Harry Potter fan and a complete novice. Hope you enjoy! Lumos!
HOLIDAY AT HOGWARTS
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Students will be required to report to the Chamber of Reception upon arrival.
Spend some time shopping at Hogsmeade in our versions of Ollivanders, Gladrags Wizardwear, Shrivenshaft’s Quill Shop, Madame Maggie’s Magical Menagerie and more to get ready for your classes. Then attend classes in potions, herbology, and defence against the dark arts before enjoying a grand celebratory feast!
No Potterhead should miss this opportunity!
Apollon Art Space
1801 Vinton Street
Omaha, Ne 68108
Directed by: Elizabeth Pozzi
Name: Jill Anderson
Occupation: Book Blogger at the Book Babble
Name: Beaufield Berry
Occupation: Writer, Mom, ENFJ
History with Harry Potter:
Jill: I first read HP in high school. I saw the school nerd reading the third book and I thought — perversely — that if he was reading it, there must be something to it. I picked up the first book and have loved it ever since! I found out I was Hufflepuff about 6 years ago. I have to admit I was disappointed at first, but I love it now. I am absolutely Hufflepuff and proud of it.
Beau: I’ve never read a book, I think I’ve seen one of the movies. I have a very basic knowledge of some Harry Potter things because I have friends who are obsessed. I was recently sorted into a house by experts, and I took on a sense of pride in belonging somewhere.
Thoughts going in:
Jill: I am out of my mind excited for this night!
Beau: I’m down for whatever, but also I’m hoping I don’t get lost because I don’t understand the references.
What I’m most looking forward to:
Jill: I’m most looking forward to being dressed up around other HP nerds. I want to open a door while saying Alohomora and have people know what I mean.
Beau: I am looking forward to seeing the Apollon in action again, it’s been awhile since I’ve attended a show and in that time, they’ve been selling out shows and really expanding further into who they are as a theater and art space.
My thoughts on the characters:
Jill: The actors never let up! They stayed in character throughout. Gilderoy Lockhart was my favorite. The actress who played him was pitch perfect. She had his friendly smarminess down.
Beau: The only character I knew was Professor McGonagall, so being introduced to new people was very cool. The other professors were hilarious and knowledgeable and I really did want to please them. Being able to earn points from them for my house was an added bonus. Just the right mix of kitschy and real, they were all very individualized, multi-faceted and engaged.
Thoughts on the atmosphere:
Jill: I was expecting the atmosphere to be fancier. It was more lunch at Hogwarts then Hogwarts Holiday Ball. They had a ton of details though, especially near the potions.
Beau: I thought the atmosphere was festive and lively. The family style seating made it easy to meet new people and fellow Slytherins–so I didn’t feel like I was surrounded by Muggles…(am I doing this right?) Having fellow audience members dressed in costumes and house colors was also helpful.
The Food and Drink:
Jill: The food was delicious. I’m vegan however and they did not have a lot of options– just vegetables. They were tasty though so I had two plates worth. I loved the drinks! We made our own Polyjuice Potion with booze. They also had butterbeer.
Beau: I had a lot of Yorkshire puddings and sausages. The food was so good! It was served on platters and shared with the audience, family style. Making Polyjuice potion right when we walked in was one of my highlights of the night…I never did turn into Beyonce though. The interactive posts really worked for me, and measuring and pouring your own cocktail is a really fun way to kick off the night. I also loved that there was a pretty big selection of “Muggle” drinks and non-alcoholic beverages. I have to say the service was really great too.
Jill: Loved the service. Yep!
Highlight of the night:
Jill: The highlight of the night was the characters. Those actors were on point. Also picking out my wand was a lot of fun. When we got our wands, we Lumos’d a Christmas tree, and if it lit up the wand was ours.
Beau: The highlight for me was definitely the magic–it was infused in little pieces of everything. Picking out my wand was an amazing moment and it really made me believe. I imagine that if I had this experience as a child and a Harry Potter fan, I would remember it as magical. Also, I loved the dedicated audience…all the Slytherins Ssss-ing was really fun.
Lowlight of the night:
Jill: The low part of the night was the Herbology station. We were supposed to be making Mandrakes. I hate to get fussy with my Harry Potter geekiness but we didn’t have to cover our ears, we didn’t pull anything out of the ground, and the clay we were working with smooshed before the night was out.
Beau: Losing to the Hufflepuffs…was my top disappointment. And in truth, I’m bummed the shows are almost sold out. I would love to share this experience with other friends and family.
Who would you recommend this to?
Jill: I would recommend this to every Harry Potter fan, including those with kids, and especially those who like to drink. I don’t know if the VIP tickets are necessary, the regular might be enough, if you’re on a budget.
Beau: I would definitely recommend it to families with kids 8 and up, Harry Potter fans and people who love Harry Potter fans. Some of my favorite moments were watching Jill geek out and then excitedly explain things to me that she knew from the books.
Jill: My overriding thought throughout the night was an appreciation for the details. Everything was taken seriously, from the characters to the food to the decor. There was an eye for detail and it was definitely brought together with both knowledge and reverence for the stories.
Beau: I left the evening feeling light, satisfied and happy. From the moment I opened our beautifully packaged owl service, until we paid our final tab, I was completely invested and wrapped up in the Apollons well-cast and executed spell. As I mentioned to the evening’s director, Elizabeth Pozzi, I can absolutely see this event becoming part of Omaha holiday traditions for years to come, whether you know your house or not.