Review: The Cursed Child (Play)

Review: The Cursed Child (Play)The Cursed Child * by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany
Released by Harry Potter Theatrical Productions on 31 July 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Length: ± 5 hours
Source: Seen in theatre
Cast: Noma Dumezweni, Poppy Miller, Jamie Parker, Alex Price, Paul Thornley.

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It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

In October 2015 I bought tickets to see the official eighth Harry Potter story performed at the Palace Theatre in London. I was so excited and so ready for my favourite book series ever to continue… That is until I got my hands on the script of said play and read it. If you’ve read my review, which can be found here, you will know I hated it. I loved the nostalgia, I loved seeing my favourite characters again, but the story was just not good at all. Still, I had tickets to see the play and I was not planning on returning those. (The above purchase links are for the script book, by the way).

On 12 April 2017, it was finally time to see the play performed. We had gotten tickets to see both parts on the same day, part one starting at 2 pm and part two at 7:30 pm. Because I have already reviewed the script and thus the story, I will not be talking (much) about that, I’ll just review the play overall today.

First of all, I want to mention that if you have Balcony seats, and you’re over 1.50/1.60 meters tall, be prepared to be very uncomfortable. Because it was an old theatre, the seats were so close to each other that my knees were resting against the seat in front of me. My sister’s friends, who were taller than us, had to sit with their legs sideways in order for them to be at least a little more comfortable. And they had to sit like that for five hours, as part one takes about two hours and forty minutes (with a twenty-minute break) and part two was two and a half hours long, also with twenty minutes intermission.

The stage was quite small, though I have to say I saw most of the play, decor and actors pretty well from my balcony seat. There were some parts where the decor or the actors would be too close to the edge of the stage, and everyone would lean forward to be able to see what they were doing, which was kind of annoying but understandable.

For me, seeing the play performed did nothing to improve my opinion on the story at all. I still think it’s (really bad) fanfiction and I do not, and will never see this as canon. I did, however, laugh at some parts that did not make me laugh while reading the script, because of the way the actors brought it. But honestly, I still hated the story as much as I did while reading it. View Spoiler »

The actors did a magnificent job though, and I was a bit sad we didn’t get better seats because of course being on the balcony we could not see any of their expressions. They wore microphones, in order for everyone to hear them properly and I’d like to thank the people who thought that might be a good idea. Out of the entire cast, I only knew Noma (from Doctor Who), but the rest was completely unknown to me. The thing that managed to impress me the most were the special effects and the clever use of decor (and trap doors). It was all so well done, and I loved all the magical elements and especially the Dementors during the second part.

But yeah, honestly, in the end, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was still a huge disappointment. I really wished the story had been actually written by J.K. Rowling herself, and not just approved by her. I missed her magic, her amazing storytelling. If you really did not like the script, like me, but are considering seeing this play (either in London or in New York when it comes there), I would seriously think about reconsidering. View Spoiler » If I had known what the story would be like before buying tickets, I would most likely not have bought tickets at all.

My opinion in one gif: