Anyone who knows me knows that my love of all things Harry Potter is probably more than a little bit unhealthy, so when I won tickets to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child over the Christmas holidays it’s not surprising that I literally cried with happiness.
Accompanied by my wonderful mum, we set out early on the 27th December for a two show day. Following an incredibly stressful journey into Central (mostly caused by the fact that I thought the show started half an hour later than it actually did and a few unnecessary detours), we arrived at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End by the skin of our teeth with only three minutes left to take our seats and settle down for Part One.
Honouring J.K. Rowling’s wish to #KeepTheSecrets I won’t reveal too much here, but I can honestly say that the production is a complete triumph. Beginning where The Deathly Hallows left off, Part One opens onto Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross, revealing Harry, Ron and Hermione with their families 19 years later. Here we are introduced to the Potter children, namely Albus Severus Potter, and the Granger-Weasley children. The audience is also acquainted with Scorpius Malfoy, son of Draco, on the Hogwarts Express shortly after the train departs. Played by Anthony Boyle, it’s safe to say that his awkward and lovable portrayal of Scorpius completely carries the show, injecting witty one liners at crucial points to deliver most of the show’s comedy. The main focus of Part One is the developing relationship between unlikely friends Albus Potter and Scorpius (who are both sorted into Slytherin). Brought to life by Sam Clemmet, Albus is an immediately unlikeable character full of self-pity, however it is exhilarating for the audience to watch him repair his relationship with his father, build friendships and develop into the role of the young hero over the course of the two parts.
Jamie Parker’s portrayal of Harry is thoughtful and serious, while Paul Thornley’s Ron is as affable and breezy as ever, another key source of comedy in the production. Now Minister for Magic, Noma Dumezweni’s portrayal of Hermione was determined and businesslike. Contrasting this, Poppy Miller’s kindly Ginny was the perfect foil to her hot headed husband, and Alex Price’s Draco rang true to the young version of himself right down to his famous sneer and swagger.
The special effects, time-travelling and set changes throughout the show were seamless, and the special feature of dementors throughout was so thoroughly chilling it left me with goosebumps.
Despite the obvious focus on magic and fantasy throughout, the show concerns itself with very real situations such as father-son relationships, the struggles of growing up and the pressure of trying to fill expectations that you don’t always have faith you can meet, so relatable at points that it had most of the audience in tears.
It is impossible to do this production the justice is deserves without the help of magic, but it truly is the most invigorating 5+ hours of theatre you will ever experience. By broomstick, train or any means you possibly can, make the time to go and see this show.
Until next time.