Saturday, 4 February 2017

My (spoiler free) review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - #Keepthesecrets


The weekend before last I FINALLY went to see the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! It feels like I was waiting forever to actually go since buying the tickets, and that's probably because it was. I'm pretty sure it was over a year between getting them and actually going, but once it came round I began to get properly excited.

I managed to go the entire time between the play's premiere and seeing it myself without seeing a single spoiler. I knew who the cast was of course, as it was announced to the world, but I didn't buy the script, and luckily most fans that had the privilege of seeing it before me kept their lips sealed.

I'll be doing the same thing, too. If you're a fanatic about any book, film or TV series you'll probably know how it feels to have a juicy twist spoiled for you, but I've got to hand it to J.K. Rowling and co for bringing in their #KeeptheSecrets hashtag. At the interval they even handed out badges with it written on, to encourage people not to go out into the world and spoil the play for others. I do however want to talk about how much I loved it, and how it's totally worth going to see it even if you have to wait.

The Theatre

Our seats weren't very expensive, so we were very high up, and I found myself leaning over just a little at times to make sure I had a full view of what was going on, but we weren't so far up we couldn't see things, and I hardly noticed it really. We paid £15 per person per performance, and saw both 'parts' of the play on the one Sunday. I think you do have the option of splitting it across evenings but as we're not from London I didn't fancy two trips.

That meant that this was an event of stamina! The two parts are an hour and a half EACH including a 15 minute interval per part. There was a 2 hour gap in the middle where we were able to go out and get some dinner (The Palace Theatre is close to Leicester Square), returning at 6.30pm to the same seats for the second part. The boys struggled with 5 hours in theatre seating as the leg room is limited, and towards the end I did lose feeling in my toes. BUT.... it was worth it!

The Story

I'm not going to give away ANY plot lines here as I don't want to ruin it for anyone still waiting to see it, but the play picks up where that cheesy '20 Years Later' scene at the end of Deathly Hallows leaves us. There's a lot of focus around Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny's kids, but don't worry - there's plenty of stage time for our original favourites.

The story itself is every bit as magical as in the novels. I'm so glad that Rowling herself was involved in writing it, with every word uttered on stage oozing with her style. It gets pretty dark too, with a strong moral thread throughout, as well as some comic relief. 

The Cast

I had no expectations of what the acting would be like, although I was struggling beforehand to get my head around the fact that the golden trio were all grown up and I wouldn't be staring at Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. I have to say though that the actors chosen to portray them as older did an amazing job of bringing through the characters from their teens. Even down to small gestures and tone of voice, I really did see Harry, Ron and Hermione in them.

There were a lot of young actors involved too, who were all fabulous. I want to give a particular shout out to Anthony Boyle who plays Scorpius Malfoy - He had the audience in creases of laughter one minute and put tears in my eyes the next.

The Set and Special Effects

I wasn't sure if seeing a Harry Potter production in a theatre setting would be a bit 'meh' in the visual department after experiencing years of digital magic in the films, but there was some real trickery afoot that I can't even mention without giving away a few too many details. Basically I have no idea how they did half of the stuff, it blew my mind. The set designs also had just the right Harry Potter feel and there was some very clever use of props. As a lifelong fan the attention to detail was a delight to behold.

All in all I found the play well worth the wait, and if we were ever treated to a follow-up, I'd be there like a shot!



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