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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Stupendous proof that J.K. is still rollin’

| Theatre, Things to do | 03/08/2016

L-R Noma Dumezweni (Hermione Granger), Jamie Parker (Harry Potter) and Paul Thornley (Ron 
Weasley). Photo by Manuel Harlan
L-R Noma Dumezweni (Hermione Granger), Jamie Parker (Harry Potter) and Paul Thornley (Ron Weasley). Photo by Manuel Harlan
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Sold out until December 2017, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has proved a huge success even before the reviews started rolling in – and with very good reason.   A further 250,000 tickets will be released on Thursday 4th August and What’s On London cannot recommend enough snapping them up while you can.  

This superb J.K. Rowling / Jack Thorne / John Tiffany two-part collaboration officially opened on 30th July at The Palace Theatre and Shannon Rawlins was lucky enough to catch the previews on consecutive nights earlier on in the week.  She reports below in a spoiler-free review.

As soon as the play opened, it was full steam ahead.  Packed from the get-go, I forgot I was flying solo at the theatre, completely and utterly immersed in Rowling’s universe.  Initially nervous at the thought of a five-hour play, by the end of Part One I dreaded having to wait a whole day to see the culminating part!

Without giving away too much, The Cursed Child is set 19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts, where we join an overworked ministry man Harry, fun-loving (as always) Ron and Minister of Magic Hermione, as they struggle with the perils of balancing work and raising their own children – each attending Hogwarts of course.  The story incorporates characters old and new (including my most terrifying theatre experience to date – the dementors).  I was in disbelief as I watched spells and potions appear to happen right before my eyes – I still don’t know how they managed the Polyjuice potion scene.

There’s something quite magical about seeing Rowling’s world brought to life in front of you, without use of CGI and a green screen.  I laughed, I cried, I was utterly mesmerised.  Most importantly, I felt a very strong sense of closure as the final curtain fell.  Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the follow-up I never knew I needed, and the cast and crew deserved all three of the standing ovations they received at the end.

L-R Anthony Boyle (Scorpius Malfoy) and Sam Clemmett (Albus Potter) photo by Manuel Harlan

L-R Anthony Boyle (Scorpius Malfoy) and Sam Clemmett (Albus Potter). Photo by Manuel Harlan

As much as I’d love to sit and write a truckload about every single aspect of this amazing play, I was told as I left to “keep the secrets”.  This is why I’d urge Potter fans to see the play before reading the book/script.  I’m a firm believer that plays are meant to be seen, not read (studying Shakespeare at university bore this out) – and The Cursed Child certainly backs this up: as none of the audience had read the script, the sense of uncertainty added to the mass of excitement.  The Palace Theatre has become, quite literally, a chamber of secrets.

Nearly 20 years after J.K. Rowling bid a fond farewell to Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, fans remain as loyal as ever and I guarantee this play will be a huge success across the world.  Rumours of Broadway plans already abound.

As ever, Rowling has certainly done everything right so far.  From the casting, to the on-stage magic, to the costumes, to the script, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is perfect – such a brilliant and magical ending to what was a large part of my childhood.  Thank you J.K. Rowling and all involved, for bringing such a grand sense of nostalgia back into my life, and reigniting my spark for the world of Harry Potter.

For further ticketing information, head over to www.harrypottertheplay.com.

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