How to talk about a play, when you are sworn to #Keepthesecret? It’s hard, but we will give try to describe our very magical Harry Potter and the Cursed Child experience to you without revealing to much about the play itself. What can be said without a doubt, is that you are in for a magical show if you are able to snatch tickets for the chronically sold out shows.
The play is based on an original new story of the Potter verse written by Jack Throne, who also wrote the stage adaption, John Tiffany and J.K. Rowling. Since the premier at the London Palace Theatre the official eighth story, set a decade after the original stories, is available for the world to read, however only in the scripted version, which is played at the Palace Theatre. J.K. Rowling herself released the first summary on her platform Pottermore back in 2015 in which she described the happenings in the eighth story as following:
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
The play opens up with what fans of the books and films know as the “last” scene. 19 years after the end of the war the Potter and Weasley-Granger families meet at Plattform 9 ¾ to send of Albus Severus and Rose off towards Hogwarts. From Rowling’s summary, we know a bit of what happens then. Harry is, like Hermione, working at the ministry. Overworked, he has not enough time to spend with his family. Especially Albus Severus, Harry’s and Ginny’s second son struggles with the burden of having The-boy-who-live as a father. From there on the play develops and Harry finds himself and his family drawn back into the same pattern he has known since he was a boy: They have to save the world from the dark powers.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is staged as a two-part show. Visitors therefor are in for either one long day at the theatre with a matinee and an evening show or two evening performances on following days. The story, the staging and foremost the magic happening before your eyes make you forget that you probably paid too much money to see the play from a small seat with absolutely restricted legroom from high above the stage. One could never have imagined how perfectly the creators of the show make magic, spells and even flying happening. After seeing the play you will probably be more than able to understand why they won all theatre prices in the last season, when they opened. After reading the book, I was really curious how such things as described there should be able to happen without someone who can actually do magic but they do happen. When having an extremely close look you might be able to see how some of the magical tricks are working but that takes away nothing from the overall magic of the play. And in the end I am not entirely convinced that there wasn’t a wizard helping to make this show happening.
Even by keeping all the secrets, there are some things, that must be said. Including giving praise for the awesome cast. Lead by Jamie Glover (Harry), Thomas Aldridge (Ron) and Rakie Ayola (Hermoine) as the Golden Trio everyone pours their heart and soul into the show. Even at the end of the second act of the second part, when it comes to the big showdown (which we will not spoil any more than we already did) everyone gives everything to make the magic happening. Furthermore the stage hands must be named, who dressed in cloaks as the rest of the wizards, make props like tables, chairs and even a bed disappear with a “woosh” of their cloaks.
It is, for both the audience and the cast a very intense experience when you see the show on a two-show-day, as Ron actor Thomas Aldridge stated on Twitter, but it’s worthwhile. It’s an event that absolutely draws the attention from the audience the entire time. You won’t hear anyone talking throughout the play (as we would wish it would be in every musical as well) but you will hear more gasping of surprise, laughter and sighs than everywhere else. Every Potter Lover who has been raised with the characters will probably love the play. For sure, everyone has grown up, as the readers did, but that does not take away the magic. A new generation of wizards takes over and they do a damn good job! You might feel slightly irritated by one or the other character, especially when your favourite one is a bit different from what you are used to, but you will get over that very quickly.
At the end a shout out to the casting directors of the play! Not only did they find fantastic actors to take the iconic characters to stage, but they also gave the role of Hermione to an actress with coloured skin, which is a huge step in making stages and casting for existing roles become more diverse. Characters do not always need to be as we are used to. Hermione in this play is different, but also the same. And Actress Rakie Ayola portrays the character absolutely magical!