Spoiler-Free Breakdown of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Part 1”
After months of anticipation, the Palace Theatre London opened its doors to the general public tonight for the opening preview of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Part 1 (and MuggleNet had a ticket!). Written by Jack Thorne, the story is set 19 years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It follows Harry Potter, an overworked employee at the Ministry of Magic, and his son Albus Severus Potter, who struggles with the weight of the family legacy.
In a recent video, J.K. Rowling has a plea for all fans seeing the play, saying, “Keep the secrets and let audiences enjoy ‘Cursed Child’ with all the surprises that we’ve built into the story.” So in order to follow J.K. Rowling’s wishes, here is our best spoiler-free review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Part 1.
Being at the theater tonight was chaotic and exciting. There was a buzz in the air with fans talking about their love of Harry Potter. Reporters were running all around doing interviews, fans dressed in Hogwarts robes were crying, and passersby were laughing at it all. It was obvious that everyone who was there tonight was a fan since the very beginning. During the course of the play, everyone was gasping, cheering, and laughing together. It created a sense of community and proved that the Harry Potter fandom is here to stay!
The Palace Theatre London has a fairly large capacity with four main levels: the stalls, dress circle, grand circle, and balcony. Seated in the balcony section, I was 60 feet away from the stage, and the view was heavily restricted. I highly suggest that, if you are still planning on purchasing tickets, you spend a few extra pounds on the stalls, dress circle, or grand circle, so that you can better enjoy the show. At the theater, there is Cursed Child merchandise available. Some of the merch includes stuffed owls, T-shirts, postcards, and lanyards. There are also programs available for £5.
J.K. Rowling once said that this theater was the only proper medium for the story, and while watching the play, it’s easy to see why. While it is a large theater, the layout creates an intimacy that makes you feel like you are on the stage and in the story, even from 60 feet up.
The most striking thing about the set was the rotating stage, as well as the use of moving staircases. These were used throughout the play to shift into new scenes, show movement, or show the passing of time. In general, the rest of the set was minimal, and it was really the use of lighting and music that brought the story together.
In general, the costumes, designed by Katrina Lindsay, are what one would expect. They are clothes that look like they belong in the wizarding world. I won’t go into depth about costumes (to avoid major spoilers), but I will say there are robes and a lot of black.
Composed by Imogen Heap, the music was one of the best parts of the show. Unlike the Harry Potter film series where the music has a more serious tone, the music of Cursed Child was whimsical and fun. Throughout the play, the upbeat music brought a comedic edge to more serious scenes.
Did not disappoint! Somehow they were able to take the magic we are used to seeing in the movies and successfully bring it to the stage. The audience members were on the edge of their seats throughout the play, waiting for what special effect would happen next.
Cursed Child proves that you don’t need a large cast of well-known names to have an amazing play. You just need a few very passionate and talented actors. The golden trio – made up of Jamie Parker, Paul Thornley, and Noma Dumezweni – bring to life the same characters we know and love while at the same time giving them their own personalities. There were also some standout performances from the younger cast members.
Following J.K. Rowling’s plea to #KeepTheSecrets, MuggleNet will not be giving a description of the story. However, watching the play felt like reading an “eighth” book. It gave us a closer look at the characters we love and allowed us to see what they have been up to since we last left them. It also introduced half a dozen new characters that are impossible not to love. Overall, the story lived up to the hype, and I can’t wait for everyone to experience Cursed Child, whether through the play or the book.
Previews for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child have now begun at the Palace Theatre London ahead of the official opening on July 30, 2016. For those of you unable to make it to London, Cursed Child is being published as a book and will be released on July 31. MuggleNet will be attending Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Part 2 this Thursday.