It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
What a week to be a nerd eh? Those of you who know me personally will know that my two true loves in life are Harry Potter (I’m a Ravenclaw FYI) and Star Trek (Team Janeway all the way) so you can imagine how flipping ridiculous it is that I not only had such an incredible experience at the Star Trek: Beyond premiere but was incredibly lucky to have tickets to see Cursed Child in previews which happened to fall in the same week.
Yes, sure, go ahead and hate me, I definitely deserve it but damn there is no way that I couldn’t not blog about such a wonderful theatrical London experience just because it might make a few people jealous. Of course as a fan I will most definitely #keepthesecrets so if you’re after spoilers you’ll find none here! (Although I may do another write-up once the script is released I’m undecided.)
First of all, the play is still technically in previews. Despite having been running for around a month it doesn’t officially open until the 30th July so some details may change but I am fairly confident that they have the majority of the show nailed by now. Secondly, I will admit straight up that as excited as I was about new Harry Potter content I was totally skeptical when the play was announced and even more so when it was revealed that it would be in two parts. Obviously as a huge fan I was always going to see it anyway and was incredibly lucky to obtain central seats just four rows from the stage back in October.
Eight months later I am so happy that I was able to shut that inner critic up because I can without a doubt say that it was better than I could possibly have ever imagined and totally worth the wait. In fact, I am already desperate to go and see it again! That said if you have tickets I would also urge you NOT to read the script when it’s released in a couple of weeks if you can possibly restrain yourself. I PROMISE you that going in knowing as little as possible will make the experience ten times better for you but I appreciate how difficult that will be (I remember I was visiting my ex-boyfriend’s mum when Deathly Hallows was released and was told I couldn’t read it in the car on the way home from buying it because it was rude – yeah he’s an ex for a reason! – and that was only a couple of hours wait!) for those of you who don’t have tickets well into 2017 or perhaps not at all. It really does need to be seen to be believed.
So, how can I review a play of which I do not wish to mention anything of consequence? I’ll start at the beginning and say that I was weeping for at least the first five minutes as some of my favourite characters were brought to life right in front of my eyes. It’s not like watching a movie, they are really there, right in front of you and despite some of the controversy around certain casting choices they were all absolutely incredible. There is no suspension of belief here; Noma Dumezweni is Hermione through and through, Jamie Parker is an older, worn-out Harry and Paul Thornley, well I’m not sure he could be any closer to being Ron Weasley if he tried (well unless he was a real ginger).
But in all honesty they aren’t even close to being the best of the bunch with the children instead stealing the show. Sam Clemmet as Albus Severus Potter and Anthony Boyle as Scorpius Malfoy standing out head and shoulders above many of their older colleagues. I guess they did have it slightly easier in that their characters are theirs to make their own (I believe JKR actually gave them licence to create some of their own back story to help them find them) but that doesn’t detract from the fact that they are each incredibly talented at their craft.
I don’t think it gives anything away to say that the supporting cast also get their chance to shine with many playing multiple characters (not uncommon in theatre even huge productions like this one) and the on stage choreography of the swing is utter perfection – I’m heading close to spoiler territory here so I will stop lol.
The Palace Theatre is a beautiful building perfect for something so magical and the crew have truly made it home by utilising it to its full potential – secrets are everywhere! 😉 The stage while at first seeming quite simple is used in the most remarkable of ways some of which I wouldn’t have thought possible but I guess when you’re dealing with a story about wizards it becomes your job to make the impossible possible. And of course there is a lot of trickery and special effects that make you believe in the world of witchcraft and wizardry!
I’m literally not going to mention any part of the actual plot at all but I will say that it made me laugh, weep, get goosebumps, gasp and actually swear out loud on a couple of occasions (apologies to anyone sitting near me, I’m sure you understood!) I couldn’t have seen any of it coming and yet somehow everything fit perfectly within the already established canon which is no mean feat for a franchise that’s been around for almost 20 years.
I have to admit I was a bit worried about the length of the show. With part one having a runtime of 2 hours 50 and part two 2 hours 40 it sounds like quite a challenge to watch both parts in one day but neither part felt anywhere near as long as it actually was and I found myself wishing that time would slow down just a little. One viewing of this incredible play isn’t enough. I want more and I want it now but given that it’s currently sold out until the end of May 2017 I’ll have to be patient and wait, either for someone to invent a timeturner or by consoling myself with the script and the fact that I am one of the lucky few who got to experience the magic first hand.
If you don’t have your tickets yet don’t forget about the #FridayForty where you can get tickets for the following week – info on the Cursed Child website.