Before we begin, this post contains no spoilers. I promise. Nothing. I managed to find out some bits of the general plot outline of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child before I went despite my best efforts to avoid every review, and I’m not going to add to the problem.
Getting to see the play is a long journey. I booked my tickets over a year in advance. But it was worth it. A whole day booked off work to just watch a play and indulge in Harry Potter geekery. Joy.
It’s absolute joy watching something for the very first time with a theatre full of people who love it all as much as you do. The collective howls of laughter, and the actual gasps of shock that reverberate at some points is unlike anything I’ve experienced before. We’re all so emotionally invested in these stories and characters.
The performances are just excellent too. You have to readjust to thinking that there’s a whole new Harry, Hermione and Ron, but once you get into it and see how they have developed as people it becomes easier to accept. I think this is especially true of Harry. He’s not always likeable… but considering the amount of trauma he went through before the age of 18 it’s understandable. He’s not a perfect hero figure, he’s a very flawed man. The relationship between Harry and Malfoy is so complex, but brilliantly played.
I highly doubt that many people would attend without knowing the story of the boy who lived, but if you have no idea of the story you will be lost. It has completely assumed knowledge of the stories, and it might even be helpful to give yourself a quick reminder of what happens if it’s been a while.
Even though it’s not wholly written by JK Rowling it still feels very much like it belongs in the world, and the world of the books primarily. It evokes all the emotions you’re used from her – complexities of hope and anger and grief and sadness. You’ll laugh so hard, but you’ll be fearful too.
I bought the cheap seats (story of my life) and I don’t feel like I missed out on any of the story. But if you can afford to get something more expensive I recommend it. It is a play with special effects (unsurprisingly), and close up I think they’d be even more impressive.
There’s been a lot of suggestion about it being turned into a film (or a few films…) and JK has always said she only plans for it to be a play. I think the story would need some big changes to work on film. It’s not a musical, there aren’t huge set-pieces or dramatic scenery and costumes. It’s definitely a play.
And I have a lot of belief in JK as an advocate for good. It was by far the youngest and most diverse audience I’ve ever seen in the West End, and I wondered how many are regular theatregoers. I think it’s her hope that it will open up more people to the world of theatre.
If anyone has seen the play, and is frustrated as hell about not being able to speak with anyone about it, do email me!