Last month I got ridiculously lucky, and was treated to a surprise day out in town to watch Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I have never been so pumped to see anything on stage, and I have seen my fair share of musicals and plays over the last few years I’ve lived in London! Anyone who knows me, even a little bit, will know that I am a massive Harry Potter nerd. Which may sound familiar, because thousands of boys and girls born in the 1990s feel exactly the same way. But I’m talking Mastermind levels of nerdiness here. Midnight collections of the books, reading through the night, two visits to the studio tour (and counting…), Pottermore membership, the works. I was beyond excited for this day in November, and I literally bounced into the theatre.
So, where to start? Obviously I can’t tell you much about the plot itself (#KeepTheSecrets), but anyone can buy the script and read all about it. The most I can tell you is that it picks up where the epilogue at the end of Deathly Hallows left off, and focuses on Harry and Ginny Potter’s youngest son Albus Severus, and Draco Malfoy’s son Scorpius. From there on in you will have to read the script or watch the show for yourself…
As far as the performance went, I was stunned. The actors were fantastic (especially the teenage actors playing Albus and Scorpius, who dominated the stage) and the special effects were out of this world. Watching the magic unfold was just incredible – flames shot across the stage, characters disappeared into thin air and I gaped in awe at every new trick, twist and turn.
The play was divided into part 1 and part 2, and then each part was divided in two. So if you choose to see the whole play in one day, as we did, it will be a day-long experience, and I would find somewhere nearby to eat in the middle (we chose Ember Yard in Soho). This gave us the opportunity to go over what we’d seen in the first half, speculate on what might happen in the second, and pick out our favourite moments so far.
As is JK Rowling’s speciality, the story had me hooked throughout. I laughed, gasped, shed a tear, and experienced joy and triumph, horror and dread. I have never been so gripped by a stage production – and yes, to a degree that is my inner HP nerd enjoying a new story from the magical world after so long. But I genuinely loved the plot – it was cleverly thought out with complex layers (again a JK Rowling speciality), and perfectly structured for the stage.
I made myself wait until I’d seen the show before reading the script, and I’m so glad I did. Not only did it make the stage performance more unexpected and exciting, more of an adventure, but reading it afterwards I was able to relive the show all over again, and I read it all with a smile on my face. The stage directions also added an extra element to the story which I hadn’t appreciated in the watching, which I loved.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is one of the best stage performances I’ve ever seen, and I could not recommend it more. If you can’t see it, read the script. If you can see it, you will be in for such a treat.