I had the honour of seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child live at the Palace Theatre in London yesterday evening. I have done my best to remove all spoilers from this review.
The fun began an hour before the play was due to start. We stood in an impressive queue, winding 360 degrees around the Palace Theatre and there were people wearing Hogwarts gowns, Gryffindor scarves and Ravenclaw jackets. The wizarding folk had gathered to watch the play.
On entering, we were amazed at the length of the queue to the gift shop. The people who were queuing there knew what they were doing however- souvenirs were sold out rapidly. By the first interval the shop had already ran out of fluffy Hedwig owls. A word to the wise- dash for the owls as soon as you can.
Our seats were on the sixth floor- a long and winding climb up a collection of staircases not unreminiscent of Hogwarts- there was even bar with a multitude of clocks on the walls- each showing a minute before midnight. The seats were perched on top of the theatre itself- and they were not for those with fear of heights. As to the play itself-it was excellent.
The acting of the first half was expressionistic at times, perhaps so that the people perched on the top floor could realize exactly what was going on. The mannerisms were softened later on, although it might have been that I just got used to them.
Sam Clemmett and Anthony Boyle were spectacular as Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy respectively, though my favorite actor in the play has to be be Jaimie Parker as Harry Potter. He was undoubtedly the grown-up Harry as I would have imagined him- outwardly respectable, but inwardly agonized by the cost he has paid for his own survival. Ron Weasley suffered much with the stage adaptation- I feel he became amalgamated with some of the other brothers Weasley for ease of reference. He does have some punchy lines though. Noma Dumezweni (Hermione) did not have as much chance to display her skill as I would have liked.
The staging and the special effects were tantalizing. The wizards moving in their gowns seemed to be breaking into spontaneous dance just to emphasize how those black gowns could twirl, while the dark magic appearing on stage managed to be simply terrifying ( if I were a seven year old seeing this I would probably be traumatized).
I dare not say much more without revealing all. For good measure, I may say that although I felt some aspects of the play itself, especially the 2nd half, were perhaps not quite as I would have liked them, I enjoyed myself throughout. The very process of rereading the Harry Potter books before seeing the play was a joy, and the play definitely deserves to be treated as a continuation of the series. For all fans of Harry Potter, such as myself, the play is undoubtedly a fantastic treat. Just before the release of Fantastic Beasts and where to Find Them.