A note for those who are seeing the play/reading the play and are worried about having things ruined for them forever: This post does NOT container spoilers – I promise you.
I’ve written about my relationship with the Harry Potter franchise previously. While I love the books, I take umbrage against anything that I feel exploits or takes away from the story in any way. This is why I don’t like the movies, did not enjoy the studio tour and was not exactly fussed with the Wizarding World at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
Yet, when I managed to score tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child within its opening weeks, I couldn’t help but feel ridiculously excited. As a die-hard fan always should.
There was a little bit of fear wrapped up in that excitement. I was worried that the play would be like the movies, which I found largely disappointing. I mean, that didn’t really stop me from going to see every single movie on its opening day, sometimes at midnight screenings. They were just very different to the characters and world I’d envisioned in my head.
However, like an expulso spell hitting an inanimate object, the play took all my fears and shattered them.
While I don’t want to ruin the premise for fans like myself, I would like to provide a little glimpse into what it was like to see this play during its opening run in London.
A long, long wait
Many people have asked me how I managed to get tickets to the play. It went down to a bit of forward planning and luck, really.
After registering in advance to be eligible to buy tickets, I jumped on the internet the morning that the first release went on sale, in October of 2015. After waiting in a queue of thousands for three and a half hours, I managed to secure four tickets to see the show – part one on a Thursday, part two on a Friday.
The show is now sold out, for both the current run and next year’s summer performances. However, there are still opportunities to buy tickets for the very, very fortunate.
Keep an eye on the website, as returned seats and cancelled bookings made by touts may become available for you to book yourself.
Every Friday at 1pm, 40 tickets are released for shows the following week, at a discounted price. Known as the Friday Forty, it’s yet another opportunity to catch the play in its opening run.
If you want first dibs on return tickets, you can also take to lining up outside the box office before performances. If you choose to do this, I feel you deserve tickets just for dedication!
I open at the close
The play picks up the story where the books left off and runs with it – to places you never would have imagined. The star of the show is Harry Potter’s young son Albus Severus Dumbledore and we follow his journey into the world of Hogwarts.
I am prone to exaggeration, but I do believe it was the best stage show I’ve ever seen. The cast were phenomenal. Jamie Parker was an ageing Harry Potter as I imagined him in my head. Paul Thornley as Ron provided the (sometimes much needed) comic relief. Noma Dumezweni played Hermione more convincingly than anyone else ever could. Sam Clemmett and Anthony Boyle stole the show, playing Harry and Draco Malfoy’s sons, respectively.
There are appearances from familiar faces from within the books – some beloved, others hated, all welcomed.
As for the set design and special effects, they are magical. As you sit in your seat and watch the spectacle take place, you’ll find yourself transported to the world that JK Rowling so painstakingly created more than twenty years ago.
You won’t want to leave.
Two shows, one story
Some may think having one play in two parts is excessive. My response to that is, when has Harry Potter not been excessive?
But really, there’s something special about seeing a play in two parts. As we spread them across two days (for which I am grateful), it was like having a twenty four hour interval. You could go away, think about what you’d seen, contemplate where the story would lead next and arrive fresh the next day, read for round two.
In fact, after part one, I couldn’t believe that I’d get to go back and do the whole thing all over again. It was like getting to repeat the best day of your life.
And yes, you should procure tickets to both shows. Seeing one means you’re missing out on half the story. You’ll want to do it – and yourself, justice.
A magical end, to a magical story
Rowling has said that the play marks the end of Harry’s story. Yet, I doubt this is the last we’ll be seeing of Hogwarts.
Fantastic beasts and Where to Find Them will debut this November, along with the accompanying screenplay-in-bookform. On top of that, Rowling is set to release three mini-books, comprising of material already published on Pottermore.
And of course, there is the Cormoran Strike series, penned by Rowling herself, under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith. She’s been churning these books out once a year – although with all the Harry Potter related fuss, I wouldn’t be surprised (just saddened) if this were to be put on the back burner until next year.
Oh well. Shouldn’t be greedy.
Have you seen/read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? What did you think of it? Did it fill the hole that was left in your heart when the series ended almost ten years ago?