MICF Review: “I’m not Harry Potter” performed by Gabriel Francis

I will admit, I’m a big fan of the Harry Potter franchise (Slytherins, represent!) so you can imagine my delight when I run into a young man outside the Melbourne Town Hall who has been gifted with the Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) looks. He mentions the name of his show and adds that there are not many Harry Potter related jokes in his show. Not to be discouraged, I make a time to attend and grab a ticket and remember to bring my cloak and wand for the evening (seriously).

Fast forward almost a week and despite the show name, I find myself down a dark laneway in the city faced with a number of unmarked doors – no one is around and I speculate whether I should start knocking on doors and find out which one I should enter….for a show not intending to reference Harry Potter, it is starting with a very mysterious set of circumstances! In no time, the assortment of audience members are led into an intimate theatre, with a bar set into a bank vault – we may as well have been in the basement of Gringotts (the wizarding bank from Harry Potter)! Okay, okay enough with the Harry Potter references – I hear you.

On the stage is a paparazzi photo of Daniel Radcliffe from a movie premiere, propped up on a chair. Gabriel appears and warmly greets the audience, pointing out that he is not Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), but asks the audience if they see a resemblance (a resounding YES!). Gabriel goes on to tell us stories about his time and adventures in Melbourne, and trips to places in Europe (Paris) and Japan. No topic seems to be off limits in this show, with Gabriel conjuring plenty of laughs as he recounts various drinking, dating and travel adventures (among other stories). Gabriel has a friendly personality, and at points during the show he would ask questions of various audience members (which I’m unaccustomed to). When some audience members sent a couple of one liners / jokes Gabriel’s way, he was able to laugh along or ‘disarm’ them in a relaxed fashion. Gabriel is able to lead the audience away with him during his stories, so the audience feels like they go on the same adventures with him.

I was sad when it was time to leave as I was enjoying Gabriel’s stories so much – everything seems a little more intriguing when the person looks like one of the most famous wizards in literary history! Coupled with the secretive location and stories from faraway places, I forgot that I was in Melbourne (my hometown) until it was time to leave. Gabriel was happy to hang around after the show and meet his audience and share an extra few laughs which was lovely.

VERDICT: Gabriel’s resemblance to Daniel Radcliffe, his engaging personality and surprising stories amount to him charming his audience with ease. An enjoyable show, just don’t tell him that ‘you know who’ sent you!

Tickets: https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2017/shows/i-m-not-harry-potter#

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