**Warning! This review contains spoilers, so if you have not read the book and/or watched the play and don’t want anything ruined for you, please stop reading now!**
Seriously. Stop reading. I am not responsible for your disappointment if you see anything you didn’t want to. This is your last chance…
Okay. We good? Everyone here that wants to be here? Good! Let’s begin.
Not that long ago I wrote a post on my mid-week London getaway to go see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. In the interest of not ruining it for anyone, I gave a very watered-down review that I don’t think gave the show justice, despite my enthusiasm for it. So this post is going to dive deeper into my thoughts and feelings on the show, holding nothing back, so that I can truly review my experience for you. And I’m not going to lie, it’s for my own satisfaction as well, because it was so hard to write about it and not be able to completely fangirl.
Let’s start at the very beginning.
One thing I did really love about both the book and the play is that they start exactly where Deathly Hallows Part 2 finishes. The final scene where all the kids of the golden trio are off to Hogwarts is brought back as a refresher, so everyone starts on the same page. Pun intended.
While we’re on the subject of the golden trio, we need to mention “Black Hermione”. A lot of people had a massive issue with Hermione being black, as everyone is so used to the fabulous Emma Watson as the image we see when we think of that character. But as it’s been pointed out, Hermione’s skin colour was never mentioned in the books! I’m personally not fussed either way. For me, Hermione will always be Emma Watson, but I have no problem with her being black. It doesn’t change the storyline in any way, and if anything it just makes the “mudblood” stigma in the main books all the more sad, as it’s another discrimination for her to face (assuming that there is any discrimination against her colour, as it seems wizards aren’t all that fussed about ethnicity from what I can tell). Regardless, black Hermione was just as sassy as Emma Watson’s Hermione, and her daughter, Rose, definitely gets it from her.
The stage set up for the platform scene is so cleverly done! In fact, all of the scenes are cleverly done, as they truly immerse you and sometimes make you forget that you’re watching it on a stage without all the special effects. The use of props, lighting, and a very clever rotating floor are amazing. I am in awe of the people working behind the scenes on this, as they are the real wizards. I think my favourite moving scene has got to be the escape from the Hogwarts Express, on top of the train. My favourite stationary scene is probably Godric’s Hollow. I loved the set up of the doors and the glowing pumpkins.
I mentioned in my previous post that no matter where you’re sat, there was something happening around you that you could see. It was very immersive. We’ll start with the lighting. During the scene where Delphi’s room is being searched, they find a secret message written on the wall. This message is projected onto the walls and ceiling in the theatre, along with scribbles and ramblings that look like they belong in an insane asylum. No matter where you’re sat you are able to read the message and the scribbles alongside it. During the intervals there were “windows” on each floor that shows a relevant image for the part of the story we were in. For example, the new dark mark being displayed between act 1 and 2.
I also mentioned that there were certain parts where actors come towards you on all the levels. What I didn’t mention was that these were dementors. There is a scene in the Forbidden Forest that involves dementors, and as well as being on stage with the other actors, there were some on wires that fly towards you in the audience, coming up to all the different levels of seating. The chilling music, the cold lighting, the fluid and dream-like movement of the dementors, it was so powerful. Sitting in the front row of the grand circle was especially terrifying, as they come fairly close to you! Breathtaking.
Another scene where an actor comes towards you is towards the very end of the show. After the battle with Delphi in the church, Voldemort is seen walking to the Potter house. At this point, Voldemort actually walks from the back of the stage, all the way to the front, and then out through the centre aisle of the ground level seats. This is the only time that being ground level is actually a benefit, however you are able to see Voldemort right up until the point where he disappears under the balcony.
Moving on now, I want to talk about the extra extras. I mentioned in my previous post how much I loved the overdramatic extras when removing set pieces from the stage, and I have to mention them again here because I honestly loved how over-the-top the sass was. At the end of a scene there would be some dramatic transition music, and then the extras in the scene would either take a prop with them when they exited the stage, or – if they weren’t actually part of the scene – they would come onto stage, did a bit of a swooshy dance with their cloak, and then whirl their cloaks dramatically, covering the set object, and glide while wheeling it off stage under their cloak. I know it really shouldn’t be, but the extras during the set changes were honestly one of my favourite parts.
While we’re on the subject of dramatic music and amazing extras, let’s do a quick bit on the choreography! If I’m being perfectly honest, the dancing made me feel more like I was watching a musical, and I kept fully expecting the cast to suddenly burst into song. I understand why it was necessary, because it did make the transitions more exciting. Without the music and dancing, I feel like scene and set changes would have felt a lot more clunky and noticeable, which would then break your concentration and remind you that you’re just watching a show.
Up next: the cast. Obviously I have to talk about the wonderful acting from the main cast. I’m especially impressed that a lot of the actors played multiple parts! Bravo to you all! Thanks to my spoiler warning, I can actually talk about specific characters now! I mentioned a stand out performer in my previous post, and I am so excited to now be able to fangirl over him with you all! Jonathan Case, who plays Scorpius Malfoy, was absolutely spectacular. He was my favourite by far, and I thought he really made Scorpius come to life. He’s honestly better than I imagined him from the book. Admittedly he was very camp, and I’m honestly not sure if it was intentional or not, but I loved him regardless. Had a crush on Tom Felton’s Draco, and now I’m crushing on his fictional son.
Speaking of Draco! He looks so much like his father! Whaaaatttt!?
Considering how much Draco feared and sometimes despised his father, you’d think he wouldn’t want to look anything like him, but here he is, with his long, slicked back hair in a ponytail. I like that Scorpius couldn’t be further from his father though. Obviously he still has the white blonde hair, but in terms of style and mannerisms they could not be more different. Draco does have some great one-liners that I found highly amusing, so that was a bonus.
Carrying on with appearances, Barry McCarthy’s Dumbledore was spot on. He honestly killed it as Albus, and I loved it. David Annen’s Snape was spot on looks-wise too, but I did get emotional when he first appeared. Despite having the look, without Alan Rickman’s voice it just wasn’t the same. You will be missed. Always. David Annen’s Voldemort, however, was terrifying. Somehow the stage Voldemort looked more disturbing than movie Voldemort. My final thoughts on character appearances, I have to mention Delphi’s hair. I loved her hair, and honestly I want it. The blue ends looked amazing, and she was rocking the bad-girl look.
The only other character I need to mention is the sorting hat. That’s right, the sorting hat is not a prop, but an actor. The iconic hat became an actual character in the show. I don’t know how to feel about it. Mark Theodore pulled it off though, with his sharp suit and bowler hat for the sorting. And his portrayal of Hagrid was spectacular.
Just because I haven’t mentioned everyone individually is not in any way a reflection on their acting, or their character appearances. Honestly everyone was completely fabulous, and I was stunned by the acting abilities! This post is long enough as it is though, so I decided to talk about the select few that I had strong opinions on.
Phew! We got there. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my more in depth review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and if you decided to keep reading despite the spoiler warning at the beginning I did warn you. I accept no responsibility for your decision, my friend.
Let me know what you thought, and let me know if I’m crazy for having a bit of a thing for the Malfoys! I would honestly love to know your opinions on anything I’ve said.
I’ll see you all again soon. xo
My geekness is a-quivering.
– Scorpius Malfoy, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child