The whole reason for me doing a solo trip to London (and tacking Paris on as well) was because a friend of mine had an extra ticket to the Harry Potter theater show, a sequel to the original stories that takes place nineteen years in the future. The show opened at the Palace Theater, an amazing old theater in the heart of London. The play was created by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, who had the idea of bringing Harry Potter to the stage and explore what happened to him after defeating Voldemort and leaving Hogwarts. They created an amazing story that picked up where the last book left off, and ended up with a spectacular two part production titled “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”
While I don’t plan on spoiling the story for those who haven’t read the play, I do want to give my own personal review on the show and the actors. It wouldn’t be fair to ruin the play by putting the story online, plus I don’t have photos of the play to back up the amazing scenes and special effects that took place. I do want to encourage people to go see it if possible, because it’s a complex and fantastic show that is put on beautifully at the Palace Theater. The theater itself came into the hands of its current owners from the famed Andrew Lloyd Webber, and is still known by many today as the most splendid theater in London. The exterior looks like a castle, while the interior is surprisingly intimate. Many famed actors and actresses have graced its stage, from Fred Astaire, Laurence Olivier, and Judi Dench. Now Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is making history already as such an amazingly popular show that people are waiting on line for up to 7 hours online for tickets! A friend of mine was able to purchase 4 tickets, and two ladies backed out, which is how I ended up with the chance to go see the play.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is split into two parts, showing on consecutive nights. For Part One, we arrived to a stage set with some luggage in the center and a large clock on the back wall. Our seats were great, 12 rows from the stage, with the minor issue of short people, such as myself, had a slightly obstructed view since each row wasn’t raised quite high enough from the one in front of it. I just leaned to either side throughout the play so like I said, not a huge problem. The general premise of the play is that Harry and Ginny have children who are going to Hogwarts now, and the plot focuses on Harry’s second son, Albus Severus, who has trouble finding his place at the school. Overall, I absolutely LOVED the show. It was well-written, exciting, funny, and emotional. I had bought the book prior to the trip and stopped reading once I found out I was going to London because I wanted to experience it live first. I had heard reviews that the special effects were amazing, and those reviews were dead on. I came into the theater wondering how they were going to show any “magic,” and I wasn’t disappointed. In the first few minutes as Harry and Ron’s families “pass through” to Platform 9 and 3/4, the actors basically run towards the front of the stage in regular clothing, do one quick spin, and suddenly, they’re in wizard robes!! I don’t know where they hid all that fabric. Another effect that impressed me was how they created the effect of the Time-Turner. No, I’m not giving away any of the story, I’m just saying that when certain characters use the Time-Turner throughout the show, the giant clock on the back of the stage turns quickly, and there’s sort of a vibrating effect that resonates through the entire theater. Some of the “spells” done with the wands were a little less than believable, but overall they did a great job convincing the audience that there was actually magic happening.
The casting of this show caused a bit of a stir when they chose Noma Dumezweni, an African American actress, to play the role of Hermione. Mainly in part because Emma Watson had played Hermione in all of the feature films and people assumed that Hermione as a character was white, but honestly it didn’t make much of a difference in my mind while watching. Noma actually had a few slip-ups during the show, at least one on both nights where she flubbed her lines a little bit. Nothing too dramatic, but it was noticeable to the audience. My three favorite characters were Paul Thornley, who played Ron Weasley, Alex Price, who played Draco Malfoy, and Anthony Boyle, who played Scorpius Malfoy. I loved Paul Thornley as Ron because he literally looked like he could be Rupert Grint grown up, and he was hilarious as Ron is in his Hogwarts years. Alex Price played a fantastic Draco Malfoy, and had a great dry sense of humor and delivery of his lines. Anthony Boyle had great delivery as well, and is an extremely talented young actor who really made the audience believe he was Scorpius Malfoy. Aside from Nora/Hermione’s line flubs, the entire cast was excellent and really put on a wonderful show.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a great story that gives the viewer a glimpse into life after Harry, Ron and Hermione leave Hogwarts, and shows that even being the child of the Chosen One has its downsides. If you get a chance and are able to get tickets for this play- GO! You won’t regret it.