Harry Potter & The Cursed Child: A Review

Last month I went to watch the eighth segment of the incredible Harry Potter story unfold on stage. The hype around the Harry Potter and The Cursed Child book and theatre renditions has essentially been at fever pitch, and Harry Potter and The Cursed Child tickets are harder to get your hands on than a Golden snitch, with tickets currently sold out until at least May of next year. After waiting for ridiculously long in a digital queue last year, one of my best friends and I managed to get our hands on some tickets, and boy was it seriously, seriously worth it. Read on for my Harry Potter and The Cursed Child review…

Following the story of Harry and his son Albus Severus Potter – named after Dumbledore and Professor Snape, obvi, the play takes shape in two parts and is hands down one of the most magical and incredible things I’ve ever seen in my life. Not least because I’ve been a huge Harry Potter fan since the release of the very first book, Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone.

It must be said though, that being a Harry Potter fan is not a precursor to actually enjoying the production. While my friend and I are both huge Harry Potter fans, my mum, who came to watch the shows with us, hadn’t actually followed the Harry Potter franchise all that closely i.e. she had never watched any of it. What was interesting to see is that the play(s) proved perhaps almost as magical, engaging and enrapturing to her as it did to us, although no doubt she must have felt left out at the numerous gasps that ensued whenever a new storyline unfolded.

Harry Potter And The Cursed Child

For a story in which magic plays such a pivotal role, it was an incredible feat accomplished by J.K Rowling – who played a huge role in the on-stage rendition – and the team, that they essentially managed to bring magic to life with an abundance of seriously mind boggling special effects. Seemingly, the cast had to become amateur magicians in order to pull off some of this stuff, with trap doors, wire flight, quick change and smoke and mirrors galore. One repeated gag even has characters arriving through a lit fireplace — via floo powder — the flames going out and springing back. HOW!?

Starting off exactly where the last book finishes, the first few minutes of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child sees Harry with his wife (!!!) Ginny Weasley at King’s Cross to send their middle child Albus Severus off to his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Between questions of which house the sorting hat will be sorting him into – will it be Slytherin or Gryffindor!? – to Ron, Hermione and more, nostalgia meets a very palpable sense of excitement.

There will be no spoilers here, as both feeling, and watching the mounting excitement in the theatre as we, the audience, started to clock on to where the story was headed was too special a thing for me to just snatch away from someone else. As per J.K Rowling, and the complimentary button handed out asking fans to please #KeepTheSecrets, I will indeed be doing just that. Buy the book, get tickets to the play, but don’t find out the rest of the Harry Potter story from a review, forgodssake.

Keeping The Secrets

With its time-travelling storyline, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child revisits iconic moments from the saga’s past, and enlists  the help of the original trio – Harry, Ron and Hermione – while also moving the story onwards.

Unfolding as a sort of multiple-choice narrative, the story-line allows Potter fans to encounter various might-have-been, might-yet-be paths for both the characters they already know intimately, as well as the new ones you instantly care about, too. As The Hollywood Reported put it: “Rowling has found a neat way to revisit her original, allowing for both novelty and nostalgia. Without giving those secrets away, her plot has shades of fan-fiction to it, revealing the past anew and prodding at its possibilities.”

All this while offering up generous dollops of moral and otherwise life-lessons. Including but not limited to: don’t mess with the past.

And while such iconic characters, and the actors who have played them in the films – namely Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson – have struggled to get out from under their shadow, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child seems almost to evade this as, as the New York Times puts it: “by even existing.”

Leave Me In Harry Potter World

While some reviews have pointed to the intensity of the offering, citing its five hour running time – which is divided up over the course of one day or two evenings – I think that actually served to increase the magic, sucking you into a secret world of Harry Potter. Arriving to our seats the next day we nodded hello to everyone around us, the same people we had sat mere inches away from while gobsmacked the previous night. It allows for a cult-like feeling, a secret, shared excitement we had carried around with us all day in anticipation.

I potentially couldn’t recommend watching Harry Potter and The Cursed Child any more. While walking away from the second instalment on the second evening I remember acutely feeling: I wish I could live in Harry Potter world forever.

Just like the enraptured belief in magic that sprung when I picked up the first Harry Potter book when I was eight-years-old, watching Harry Potter and The Cursed Child made me believe in magic all over again, albeit in a slightly more mature way, bringing with it an understanding of its dangers, too. Just like J.K Rowling seems to have wanted.

Find out more about getting your hands on Harry Potter and The Cursed Child tickets here.

Have you read Harry Potter and The Cursed Child or had an opportunity to watch the play? Have you managed to get your hands on tickets? Let me know in the comments below… 

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