Theater Review: “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” Opens in Australia

 

by Amanda Walters

It feels strange that, after three years, #KeepTheSecrets seems to be the primary campaign for the production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. With two scripts, three ongoing stage productions, and an active fandom, I wondered if there were any secrets left. However, after attending the opening night of Cursed Child in Melbourne, Australia, I discovered that the biggest secret is potentially the most documented of them all.

The two-part play has opened in the Princess Theatre, and the city is celebrating. Potter fever grows as you approach the area, with House banners hanging from light posts and the glorious nest we have seen atop the other productions now adorning the historic theater. The theater underwent significant renovations to host the play – Hogwarts carpets now cover the floor, mimicked by wall decorations that surround the space.

 

 

As the show begins with simple set pieces, you are absorbed into a world simply full of magic. While the story may let down fans, the staging certainly doesn’t. Harry (Gareth Reeves), Ron (Gyton Grantley), Hermione (Paula Arundell), and Draco (Tom Wren) are all wonderfully portrayed in their own way, not a direct representation of the work of actors before them yet still recognizable as the people we know so well. Particular praise goes to Reeves and Wren, who both brilliantly played between emotion and humor when the story called for it.

The younger protagonists of the story, Albus (Sean Rees-Wemyss) and Scorpius (William McKenna), held their own on the stage. Their dynamic friendship is wonderful as they go through the challenges of the story, bouncing their characters off each other. McKenna’s portrayal of Scorpius is a particular delight and he quickly became the one to watch on the stage.

 

 

Altogether, the Australian cast shone on the stage, mastering accents for the most part and beautifully moving together in synchrony through the more artistically choreographed moments.

The show is a visual treat. With magic and effects strongly and flawlessly used throughout, you’ll be left spellbound and enchanted, wondering how they did it and hungry to see more. The stage comes alive with trickery and movement – the use of robes and lighting is breathtaking.

What is the biggest secret that everyone has been told? I did not like the script book at all. It frustrated and angered me to the point that I wished it entirely away – I did not want it in my fandom. And while the story still frustrates me (I could not hold back a few eye rolls and internal groans), the script is just a script and only half complete without the actors’ inflections. Lines that felt wrong for characters to say suddenly made sense, which made beats of the story clearer. And the staging? It outweighs the story itself. The effects and the magic need to be seen and will leave the majority of fans giddy for more.

So while I may not pick up the script and read it ever again, I would certainly embrace any opportunity to see the two-part phenomenon currently gracing our Aussie stages and highly recommend that any Australian Potter fan see it.

Press Release

AUSTRALIA WARMLY WELCOMES HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD TO ITS NEW HOME

The Australian premiere production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child officially opened at Melbourne’s Princess Theatre last night, Saturday, February 23, after a magical red carpet gala performance.

The multi-award-winning theatrical event had a full house of 1,400 theatregoers on their feet in [rapturous] applause at the end of the two[-]part production.

Download images and footage of the red carpet, curtain call and cast arrival at the afterparty here.

Melbourne is the third city worldwide to welcome Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – the first in the southern hemisphere and the only city in the region that will host the production.

Due to overwhelming deman,d the current booking period will be extended and a new block of tickets will go on sale to the general public at 11am this Tuesday, February 26 for performances up until and including Sunday Februay 2, 2020.

The Australian cast features Gareth Reeves as Harry Potter, Lucy Goleby as his wife Ginny Potter and Sean Rees-Wemyss as their son Albus Potter; Gyton Grantley as Ron Weasley, Paula Arundell as Hermione Granger and Manali Datar as their daughter Rose Granger-Weasley; Tom Wren as Draco Malfoy and William McKenna as his son Scorpius Malfoy.

The company of 42 performers also includes Iopu Auva’a, Damien Avery, Mike Bishop, Simon Chandler, Clare Chihambakwe, Sienna Conti, Louis Corbett, Gillian Cosgriff, Mark Dickinson, Lyndall Grant, Ruby Hall, George Henare, Alfie Hughes, Soren Jensen, Hamish Johnston, Madeleine Jones, Ezra Justin, Amanda LaBonté, Debra Lawrance, Kuda Mapeza, Kirsty Marillier, Cle Morgan, James O’Connell, David Ross Paterson, Archie Pitcher, Zakaria Rahhali, John Shearman, David Simes, Hayden Spencer, Slone Sudiro, Connor Sweeney, Sasha Turinui, Jessica Vickers and Hannah Waterman.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a new play by Jack Thorne, directed by John Tiffany. It is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. Both parts of the play are intended to be seen in order on the same day (matinee and evening) or on two consecutive evenings.

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.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the most awarded play in theatre history. It has won 24 major theatre awards in the UK and 25 in the US. It opened in London in July 2016 winning a record-breaking nine Olivier Awards including Best New Play and Best Director and made its Broadway premiere in April 2018 winning six Tony Awards including Best Play and Best Director of a Play.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is directed by John Tiffany with movement by Steven Hoggett, set by Christine Jones, costumes by Katrina Lindsay, music & arrangements by Imogen Heap, lighting by Neil Austin, sound by Gareth Fry, illusions & magic by Jamie Harrison and music supervision & arrangements by Martin Lowe. International Casting Consultant is Jim Carnahan and Australian casting by Janine Snape. Executive Producer of the Australian production is Michael Cassel.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is produced by Sonia Friedman Productions, Colin Callender and Harry Potter Theatrical Productions.

Tickets are available from HarryPotterthePlay.com.

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BOOKING INFORMATION

How To See The Play
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is one play presented in two parts. There are three options for how to see the play:
• Parts One and Two together on the same day or consecutive evenings (recommended)
• Parts One and Two separately on non-consecutive days
• Part One only or Part Two only

Performance Schedule
The regular performance schedule (excluding variations due to public holidays) will be:
Monday – no performance
Tuesday – no performance
Wednesday – 2:00 PM Part One & 7:30 PM Part Two
Thursday – 7:30 PM Part One
Friday – 7:30 PM Part Two
Saturday – 2:00 PM Part One & 7:30 PM Part Two
Sunday – 2:00 PM Part One & 7:30 PM Part Two

Ticket Prices
From $65 per Part.* For every performance there will be more than 200 tickets priced at $65 or less. *Plus $9.75 Ticketmaster Handling Fee per transaction. A delivery fee may apply depending on the mode of delivery selected.

Ticket Purchase Limit
There is a strict ticket limit per transaction of 6 tickets per person, per part. This means that 6 people can attend Parts One and Two.

Friday Forty
Each week, 40 tickets for every performance the following week will be released via TodayTix for some of the very best seats in the theatre at $40 per part, per ticket ($80 total). These tickets are known as ‘The Friday Forty’. Visit harrypottertheplay.com/au/the-friday-forty/ or TodayTix for more info.

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HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD
Melbourne’s Princess Theatre
163 Spring Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Booking until Sunday, February 2, 2010
Tickets from
HarryPotterthePlay.com
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Twitter: HPPlayAUS
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www.pottermore.com