A FOREWORD TO THIS POSTThe show has been going on since June, I think? So it would be nice to have a discussion with some fans who have seen the show. I will keep the contents of this blog post VERY GENERAL and NON-SPOILERY for those who have yet to see it on stage. You can DM me on Instagram or on Twitter if you want someone to discuss it with! If you have only just read the script and want a discussion on how things translated from the page to the stage, feel free to do the above, or leave a comment below!
If I do mention anything spoilery, it will be underneath a clickable notice of text. I absolutely promise to #KeepTheSecrets!
I first read Harry Potter when I was 15. Only four books were out then (am I revealing my age?), and I am definitely one of those who grew up alongside Harry. Being able to see the characters again when we’re roughly the same age (stage!Harry is older than me by almost a decade, him being 40) is thrilling and exhilarating. I wanted jump out of my skin, scream, squish anyone, and run around in excitement the day of the play and while in the queue to enter the theatre! When we finally walked into the Palace Theatre, I completely ignored the merchandise section and the drinks bar (those who know me well know I don’t say no to alcohol) and headed straight for our seats. I was shaking my friend’s arm (as she did with mine) as we sat there waiting for the light to dim, and the play to start.
The stage, as the audience waits for Part I of the play to start
A side note — I have the printed rehearsal script of the play. Got it on the 31st of July (but of course), but haven’t opened it, and still haven’t, not even after I’ve seen the play. I want to write about my experience seeing it first before reading it, and then see why lots of fans were of two minds about the text.
I haven’t been to the theatre in years so I don’t know if there’s anything to compare it to, but the production in The Cursed Child is phenomenally magical. The trapdoors were used really well, especially in conjunction with lighting and sounds, and those whooshing robes were fabulous! I texted my husband during intermission to tell him I wanted one! It ups your awesomeness to the 10th degree if you have it, I swear.
My friend commented that it was just like watching it on film, and I couldn’t agree more. The magic was there, and it’s exponentially better because you know there was no CGI involved.
Intermission! Time to stretch the legs, run for a wee break (queus are long, so you better run), or get a quick snack or drink
The adult characters were on-point, and I couldn’t help but grin to myself thinking about them now. It was so nice seeing Harry, Ron, and Hermione all together again. Harry’s marriage to Ginny (badass like her mother) in light of their struggles with their teenage child was interesting to see. And Draco! Ahh, Draco. I love this version of adult Draco. He seemed like a better version of his father but isn’t quite sure he is, and so he’s still trying to be better — and failing at times.
And really, at the heart of it all is that this is a story about relationships — the relationship between Harry and his son, Albus; Albus and his friendship with Scorpius Malfoy; and how this bond affects Harry’s (and ultimately, the trio and Ginny’s) relationship with Draco. Friendship and family have always been in the story of Harry Potter, and it was played beautifully on stage.
My biggest complaint in all of this, however, is that the story is fucking WEAK. Take out all the positives I’ve just listed up there, and it comes out as badly concepted fanfiction. That big reveal towards the end about the cursed child is something I’m pretty sure has been explored in fanfiction back in the heydeys of Fanfiction.net. The entire reason Albus and Scorpius get into major trouble is because of a silly premise that I’m sure the wizarding history books had mentioned, especially since it sounds like the trio’s adventures were well-documented. Spoiler under this! I mean, seriously — going back through time to save Cedric Diggory?? Was it not at all mentioned in the books how Hermione kept going on and on about not playing with time and events that may cause a ripple in the future?! Scorpius was painted as a big reader and book lover — he somehow failed to extract this information from the history books? My eyebrow is raised.
I mean, seriously — going back through time to save Cedric Diggory?? Was it not at all mentioned in the books how Hermione kept going on and on about not playing with time and events that may cause a ripple in the future?! Scorpius was painted as a big reader and book lover — he somehow failed to extract this information from the history books? My eyebrow is raised.
The stage, as the audience waits for Part II of the play to start
Part I was miles better than Part II, and this was mostly due to character interactions. The overall arc of the story is terribly insubstantial; what carried this play was the brilliant production, the joy of seeing the old characters again, and Scorpius Malfoy and Rose Granger-Weasley. I mean, it is not a stretch to expect Hermione’s progeny to be badass, but Draco’s is a complete opposite of him, and lord, was he very amusing and adorable.
And now permit me to have some serious introspection — I mentioned I grew up with Harry. Seeing his character as an adult, struggling to be a good parent to a teenager, well, it made me a little pensive. Harry had his issues when he was younger, and these carried over into his adulthood and how he was as a parent. Albus, on the other hand, being under the massive shadow as the son of the Boy-Who-Lived, had expectations on him that he couldn’t quite meet, and everyone knows that’s terrible for any child. It wasn’t a great match, and watching them both was painful to watch. Let’s not even talk about Draco and Scorpius on the side! I’m of the age where I could be a parent, and these are the kind of things that make me pensive. Everyone wants to be a good parent, but it can be hard, isn’t it?
Because of this, one of the parts that resonated so much with me was spoiler when you click this!
I feel like I keep on saying this throughout this post, but overall, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: The Play is such a great production. I remember seeing an article about how some Harry Potter fan in the US is campaigning for it to NOT head to Broadway, and I do wish it won’t! Keep it here in the UK! All you American witches and wizards will be missing out, but I always associated Harry Potter with Britain anyway. Heh.
On top of that, major props to the actors and the entire production crew for all the work they’ve done. This play requires such a high energy, with so much movement involved — just as an example, I couldn’t help but marvel at the actress playing Moaning Myrtle, because the way she was twirling around had me seriously envious of her core strength. Can’t imagine how she (and all of them) do it everyday!
Despite the core story being a roughly pieced-together shambles, I’m glad to see that a lot of thought and effort went into showing fans the story of adult Harry, and as a Potterhead, I couldn’t ask for more.
Let’s have a chat!
Have you seen the play? What did you think?
If you’ve only read the rehearsal script, tell me your thoughts about it! If you have any questions over how something played out on the stage, feel free to ask.