I shall be attempting to #KeepTheSecrets in this post!
There is no denying that Harry Potter is a cultural phenomenon that has spanned decades, and therefore the opening of “the eighth story” in London was always going to be a huge event. The Palace Theatre in the West End is surrounded by a near constant stream of excited people taking photos of the front of the theatre, even on days when the show isn’t performing.
Beginning exactly where the final book left off, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child welcomes the audience back into the world of Hogwarts with open arms. The stage is scattered with clocks, a line across the front echoes that of a London station, dotted with muggles who transform into Hogwarts students before our eyes. We are whisked through the first couple of years of Albus Severus Potter’s time at Hogwarts, with focus on the ever increasing tensions between the young wizard and his father and how his close friendship with Scorpius Malfoy has alienated him from his family.
The domestic plot line is soon mixed with a classic Harry Potter magical romp, as Albus and Severus decide they must help a bereaved Amos Diggery be reunited with his son, Cedric. A rumour of an illegal time-turner at the Ministry for Magic turns out to be true, and the boys find themselves travelling back and forth in time in an attempt to change the course of history and bring father and son together again. Of course, this attempt to unite a father and son echoes the ever increasing distance being created throughout their adventures between Albus and Harry, and the time travelling wizards create disastrous ripples through time.
The staging of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is its true masterpiece – the set seems simple and yet real magic appears before you throughout the two parts. The cast move across the stage bringing on props and scenery and using their cloaks as an extension of themselves. The score, provided by Imogen Heap, is used extensively throughout Part 1 and 2, more so than I was anticipating, to the point where the movement passages of the production become choreography and it feels a hair’s breadth away from being a musical. The opening to Part 2 is the most striking piece of choreography I have seen in a long time, and really sent chills down my spine.
In an effort to avoid spoilers my review may seem a little vague, however; I can assure you that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a theatrical spectacle I felt honoured to witness. Every intricate detail of the performance has been thoroughly thought through, and where the plot can feel a little cliche and messy, it is made up for by superb performances from all the leads, and a particularly stand out and nuanced portrayal of Scorpius by Anthony Boyle. If you can get your hands on one of the most in demand seats in London right now, then grab it with both hands and enjoy this epic theatrical adventure!