Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: A review
Today's post is all about Harry Potter, that wonderous universe that I live in permanently inside my head.
The following is also: spoiler free!
As a die hard fan of the novels anything that expands the canon beyond the seven books is something I often get nervous to witness. I put off watching the 'Fantastic Beasts' movies for years because I was worried they wouldn't live up to the universe built in my head since childhood. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the films, the storyline was well before the Harry Potter novels are set and therefore didn't tickle my favourite characters in any major way.
But today's post is about the screenplay and live play of 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child'. Written by JK Rowling in teamwork with Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, the screenplay is set immediately following the epilogue of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows'.
The screenplay itself was published concurrently with the premiere of the show on 30 July 2016.
At the time of its release I attempted to read the screenplay and found it difficult to digest. This was for a number of reasons. As a novel reader I found it difficult to invest in what is pure dialogue.
But, as Jack Thorne himself has noted the play is meant to be watched.
And it did not disappoint.
On July 10th Jordan, Dad and I sat down at 2:30pm for the first half of one of the most thrilling performances I have had the pleasure of witnessing.
From the very beginning the show was enticing. The choreography was clever, the acting superb, and the the costumes were perfect!
The time went by impossibly fast with intermission being reached far too quickly for my liking. The second half of the show was equally as impressive as the first and completely immersive. The audience gasped, jumped, looked around in awe and laughed as one.
Here are the top three things I loved about the entire experience:
1. Special Effects
One of my favourite parts about the Harry Potter film series is how they bring magic to life. It's one thing to read about but another to see in action. Every time a spell is cast or a potion creates a reaction I get a buzz.
Watching these same occurrences on stage was unbelievable. I felt like I was 6 years old again watching a magician disappear a coin. My mouth was left hanging open in awe.
There was a whole range of effects used and every single one was flawless and smooth. Safe to say I was left begging them to do it all again!
I was struck during the show that seeing the dialogue from the script play out on stage truly was an entirely different experience. It fit. This comes from a few things. The acting was fantastic and as any actor would know it takes great acting to truly bring dialogue to life.
The lines also fit better when performed. Even though I knew an argument was occuring in the book or a tense moment was approaching, seeing how the actors paced their lines or moved across the stage while they spoke improved the dialogue drastically.
It truly was better seen than read.
This ties in well to my last point. Ron was hilarious. That's it. That's my point. All of his lines were just so funny and broke up the dramatic tension that permeates the play.
I have always loved the way that JK Rowling took serious topics in her novels and played them against moments of humour that kept everything in perspective. It is truly evidence of her talent for writing.
There were a few things that I didn't enjoy but these were minor in comparison and more niggling issues that sparked in my mind as a fan of the original story.
Primarily, this was around how Harry, Ron and Hermione were portrayed. As I said, this is a minor issue and incredibly subjective. In my head, after years of re-reads I have an image in my head of who these characters are, what they would say, how they would behave. Now, seeing the "adult" versions of them on stage felt almost like I was watching new characters.
They were different to the people that live in my head.
But that's ok! For some, they may have been exactly what they had been expecting. For me it wasn't quite what I had expected.
Overall, the show was fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone who has been considering it. If you haven't heard anything about the Harry Potter before you might find yourself confused in parts but it is still an incredibly engaging show, even for newcomers.
Till next time,