London

Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (keep the secrets!)

Eighteen months ago, after seven hours’ online queuing, I got tickets to the play of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. And two weeks ago I was privileged enough to see both parts on two consecutive days. Here are ten of my several thousand thoughts about it. No plotline spoilers! #KeepTheSecrets

cursed child part 1 half 1

  1. It is the best-produced play I’ve seen in my entire life. Magic happens every thirty seconds and it is seamless. The music is fantastic (they sample Imogen Heap!). There are fire and lights and exceptional scenery and astonishingly good 3D projection. The movement direction is especially fantastic.
  2. At one point, three young characters take Polyjuice potion. They are wearing robes. They start to feel the effects of the potion, and they disappear from within their robes and three adult characters appear inside them. At no point does it look like there are two people inside each set of robes, and when they have transformed, there’s no sign of a trapdoor below them. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen on a stage.
  3. Ginny has no personality. She has a job which reveals her character a little further, but otherwise she’s just a mother and wife. By the second play especially it gets irritating and depressing. Poor old Ginny.
  4. There are some annoying parts of the plot. Why would someone store an important object somewhere safe and protect it via a series of riddles? They wouldn’t. They’d just put a powerful charm on a box. Ditto the stuff with the stairs.
  5. Dementor puppets flying around the stage and throughout the auditorium above your head is just as terrifying as it sounds. We were lucky enough to be in the Dress Circle so we got the full effect of them whirling above our heads. Intense.
  6. Some bits of the story are unqualified, complete and utter garbage. I won’t say which parts they are, because I can’t mention what they constitute without giving away that those characters make an appearance. But I felt absolutely seething at what was going on on stage several times.
  7. The second part of the play has a lot of chatter between various characters about “the old days”. How they secretly felt; things they wish they’d said to each other; regrets they have. It felt unnecessary: like tell, not show. We could have intuited many of those characters’ ‘revelations’ just by reading and thinking about the original books. Lazy.
  8. Harry is perfectly, flawlessly cast. It was absolutely Harry on stage. Ron was also excellent — when he said Bloody hell I felt an enormous sense of joy. Hermione was an extremely good actress, but I felt that she was a little further away from my understanding of Hermione than the other two.
  9. Although Harry is in the title of the play, the play is not about him anywhere near as much as the books are. Much more important are Albus Potter, Harry and Ginny’s youngest son, and Scorpius Malfoy, Draco’s only son. Not just that: of the original trio, Hermione is also vastly more important than Harry in this story. It should be “Hermione Granger and the Cursed Child”.
  10. It could absolutely, 100% be a film — and I’m sure it will be, one day.keep-the-secrets