I love going to the theatre (as you probably know by now!). So, when my husband surprised me last summer with tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for my 30th birthday this year, I was thrilled. I purposefully didn’t read the script in advance as I wanted to immerse myself fully in the theatrical experience and I wasn’t disappointed. So, I’m going to write about the plays now, and reveal some minor secrets, so spoiler alert in advance….
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The old favourites
I was so thrilled to see Harry, Ron and Hermione in their future roles. It was wonderful seeing them as parents and functioning adults and all the complexities that come with that. The actor who played Harry was especially skilled and believable. It was clear he had studied Daniel Radcliffe’s performance and incorporated mannerism and behaviours that are already familiar. It helped believability immensely. There were special appearances from Dumbledore, Snape, McGonagall and more from the original story sphere, which was wonderful. It was especially pleasant to watch new actors take on these roles, make them their own but also pay tribute to the actors who have played them in their past.
The new children
Scorpius and Albus were adorable! It was such a nice twist to place a child of Harry Potter in Slytherin and for him to strike up a meaningful relationship with the son of Draco Malfoy. Their friendship was cute and well-articulated. I suppose there is a risk with the Harry Potter canon that elements of the story are overly sentimental (more on that later!) but I found their story to be moving in a completely genuine and innocent way; I’d go so far to say it was beautiful.
I must confess I was a little sceptical at first, but the production really blew me away. In some cases, you can figure out how they achieved a certain magic effect, but in other cases I was completely stumped. It was nice to experience that sort of raw wonder and pleasure, it’s rare these days, especially since growing up! That’s the true magic of these plays I think, in particular as most people there were adults like me; I was surprised to find few children around in the theatre.
Music and Staging
Unfortunately, here comes a small bit of constructive criticism. By and large the staging was excellent and well thought out. However, with the set being as complicated as it was, there were long and sometimes awkward scene transitions, accompanied by some music and dancing. This didn’t sit well with me, it came across as a bit like a bad musical number, and the music itself was often misplaced.
Don’t worry I won’t reveal the actual ending! But going back to my point about being overly sentimental, this was really a game changer and I should admit I was disappointed. The dialogue wasn’t particularly well thought out and it was a bit obvious and saccharine, as opposed to allowing meaning to be decided by the audience.
Overall though, I absolutely loved it! The whole experience was great fun and I got completely spoiled for my birthday, so thank you to my husband for making my 30th celebration so magical! Now the countdown begins to the real thing on 8th September, as well as the self-publishing release date-more on that next time!