Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Photo: Charles Young
Photo: Charles Young

I was first introduced to Harry Potter by DT, when at the age of ten she was presented with a copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at the annual school prize giving. He has remained a firm family favourite for the past 20 years.

I must confess,  I have never read any of the books. However, I have seen all the films in the series several times and I have enjoyed watching Harry and his friends on their adventures into adulthood. It seemed perfectly natural for us that the next stage in Harry’s story would be told on stage.

After a long wait for tickets to become available at a time convenient for us, we were able to get tickets for both part one and two on the same day. This does mean that you spend about five and a half hours in the theatre, however there is an interval in both plays, and a two-and-a-half-hour break between the two parts.

Security at the theatre is tight, and a large queue quickly forms around the theatre, as bag checks and body searches are in progress.  I would advise to arrive at the theatre at least half an hour before each performance, to ensure you gain entry before the curtain goes up. Latecomers are not allowed into the auditorium until there is a suitable break in the performance.

The atmosphere in the queue and the theatre is very friendly. The excitement is tangible as members of the audience, many dressed in Harry Potter merchandise, wait eagerly for the performance to begin.

An announcement is made encouraging the audience to “keep the secrets” of the cursed child and free pin badges containing this message are available to all, which added to the excitement and anticipation.

The story tells of a grown-up Harry Potter and the strained relationship with his second son Albus who is struggling to fit in at Hogwarts; his only friend being Scorpius Malfoy.  Harry works for the Ministry of Magic and he discovers that the Ministry has an illegal time turner in their possession. What on earth could go wrong?

The production refers to characters and situations from previous Harry Potter stories which could be confusing for anyone unfamiliar with the series.

Costumes by Katrina Linsey and scenery by Christine Jones create the magical world of Harry Potter that we have come to know and love. Special visual effects are stunning and several times I found myself jumping in my seat out of shock and surprise.

Movement director Steven Hodgett continues the magical feel to the production as we see the ensemble use cloaks to move items on and off the stage, keeping the illusion that they are being moved by magic.

There are strong performances from all the adult cast. Most parents could identify with Jamie Glover’s portrayal of   Harry Potter as a parent struggling to connect with a teenager. Samuel Blenkin gives a suburb performance as Scorpius Malfoy creating a character that is funny, shy and kind hearted,

This production is a must for Harry Potter fans and for anyone who enjoys a fast-paced story accompanied by excellent performances and stunning visual effects.

I for one will be keeping the secrets.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is at the Palace Theatre and currently booking until January 2019, and opening on Broadway in the Spring of 2018.

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MT

Theatretastic rating 5/5:

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We say: “A spell-binding magical must see! #keepthesecrets”

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