WARNING – CONTAINS SPOILERS
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a real theatrical event. Not only does it have the character of Harry, Hermione and Ron, but it also has some other well known characters from the Harry Potter books. And it all takes place in the beautiful Palace Theatre.
The character of Harry still wears glasses, and Hermione is played by an actress. Ron is also played by a ginger – it is wonderful that a ginger actor is allowed to be in such a big show.
The worry with a production like this is that it isn’t going to match the scale of the films – but I must say the special effects are wonderful. There are lights, sound effects, spotlights, and even blackouts – which are very effective. Fans will be pleased to hear that there is a school called Hogwarts, which is divided into 4 houses – one beginning with G, one beginning with R, one beginning with H, and one beginning with S (I don’t want to give anything else away, dear).
Also, the acting is excellent. The actors say lots of lines, often to each other, and on some more daring occasions they say lines while looking out to the audience. Lines are sometimes whispered, sometimes shouted, and sometimes they are even said quickly. J K Rowling must be so pleased that her lovely lines are being said so nicely. The actors also use a variety of facial expressions ranging from anger, happiness, fear, joy and constipation.
However, I didn’t entirely agree with the scene where Harry Potter went onto the TV show ‘Tattoo Fixers’ to get his little lightning scar changed into an owl tattoo - but it was certainly an emotional scene. And the tattooists offering reduced rate tattoos saying ‘#keepthesecrets’ as you leave the theatre is a lovely little touch. I got one on my left bottom cheek. It was rather thrilling if I’m honest.
I also don’t understand why Gandalf makes an appearance. I’m sure he was in those other books that were slightly longer than the Harry Potter ones. But I can’t be sure, dear.
The acting is superb, each actor stands onstage with purpose, and walks around as though they know what they are doing. They occasionally stand still, which is thrilling to watch, and on some occasions even run for a little bit – but this can be risky so running is limited. There are also tender moments of physical movement where actors walk for a bit, then stop, think, then run for a bit, then stop again, then walk off the other side of the stage. It really is magical to behold.
The wise decision has been made that the production also sticks to theatrical tradition – so the actors wear costumes. Some of them even wear more than one, some more than two, and the odd actor even wears more than three (commonly known in the business as a triple threat). There are robes, shirts, shoes, hats, and show pants (I have been informed). With all these costumes, you can see where the big budget has gone.
I was amazed to learn that the children in the show were actually REAL LIFE CHILDREN – and not animatronic robots as I had thought. Again hats off to the whole creative team, who have managed to find real life children that look like Harry Potter characters.
I must also pay some attention to the sound. In this production sound is used, which is a lovely addition. You can at any point close your eyes and still hear the talking, sound effects, and people sitting next to you eating Maltesers – and if that isn’t what theatre is all about, then what is?
There is also a set – and a very good one at that. The set really evokes the world of Harry Potter, and is wonderful to look at. It allows the actors to walk around and pretend that they are actually in the Warner Bros Harry Potter World in Watford. Which must be very useful for them.
Lots of recognisable words from the books are used – which fans will be pleased about. There are also some new words added, and some new characters. Words like wand, magic, Harry, Ron, muggle, the, then, child and cursed are particularly prevalent.
The theatre was jam packed, and only one person left in the interval - because they were in the wrong theatre and had actually bought a ticket to watch The Phantom of the Opera. However, everyone else stayed, and there was a glorious standing ovation at the end.
The only thing that was missing was a few Abba songs, but they’ve got time to add those before they officially open anyway, dear.
So yes. It’s a big raised wand for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It does everything you want and more – there’s talking, moving, sitting, shouting, crying, costumes, lights, sound, special effects, and a curtain call at the end where everyone is given the chance to clap.
* I was sitting in a restricted view seat. On the roof.