'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 22 July 2016

Keeping the Secrets about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two

“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.”

In case you've missed all the announcements, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a new play based on an original story by author J. K. Rowling, playwright Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany.

I was incredibly fortunate and excited to get tickets to see the play in preview while I was on holiday in England (as you can probably imagine, they sold out really quickly). Perhaps a magic wand was used?

I loved Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and I promised to #KeepTheSecrets so as not to spoil the experience for everyone else who will see it. So instead of a review, here is what I can tell you.

There was an incredible buzz and sense of anticipation in the audience as we sat waiting for the start, and throughout the show there were audible gasps, oohs and ahhs, laughs, cheers, and sniffling, along with plenty of clapping. At the finale there was a resounding standing ovation.

I thought the casting of all roles was excellent. The actors truly inhabited and brought to life the characters we know and love from the Harry Potter books, as well as new characters. They all gave amazing performances, delivering two nights filled with extensive dialogue, action and emotion.

The play is presented over two nights, or matinees, depending which you book to see, and each part is over two and a half hours long. A two-part play is unusual, but it allows this particular story to be properly told, and more to the point experienced - and it works. The cliffhanger at the end of part one had me, and everyone else, on edge waiting for part two.

The story itself has a lot going on - mystery, tension, comedy, and more - and there are many scene changes. There’s also plenty of magic because of course the Harry Potter universe is a magical one.

Movement is important in helping to tell the story and demonstrate the passing of time. Sets and props are also incredibly important, cleverly used and well executed. The special effects were incredible and not like anything I'd seen in a play before. They're both simple and complex, and you don't quite know what to expect next, as it should be with something like this.

My reaction at the end of part one was just wow - wow, wow, wow. And at the end of part two
I was simply frustrated I didn't have anyone at home I'd be able to talk to about it!

Watching Harry Potter in this way, in a theatre environment, is an immersive experience that is like a mash up of reading a book and watching a movie. Congratulations to J. K. Rowling and the entire cast and crew for an experience I will remember for a long time.

At its heart Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is about love, friendship and how the past, the things that we experience in life,can influence our future. What does that mean for Harry Potter, his family and friends? You'll have to wait and see!

I so wish I could say more, much more, but I can't because it really would spoil the story for anyone who will see the play, and for those of you who will read the script book.

Want more Harry Potter? Visit the active and interactive Pottermore website, which is filled with all kinds of news and fun from J. K. Rowling and the wizarding world.

The script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One & Two (Special Rehearsal Edition) will be released on 31 July 2016.