The big and beautiful sign of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” welcomes the audience in the Palace Theatre, London.
The play started in Fall 2016 and will end in the of Spring 2017.
The theater was big, and even if I paid for 135£ for good seats in the Dress Circle (which was the first balcony), I found myself squeezed in next to my neighbor, who was herself squeezed in next to her neighbor, and so on and so on.
We were a delightful lot of Harry Potter fan sardines.
Even if I had a beautiful view from the first balcony, it was still very far from the stage. There were two other balconies above me, and I wondered how those poor fellows would see the play.
The play hadn’t begun yet, but we could see the beautiful and mysterious set, which appeared to be a representation of King Cross Station.
When the play starts, Harry Potter arrives with his children, James, Lily, and Albus—who is going to start his first year at Hogwarts.
I still can’t believe little Albus ends up—to EVERYONE’s surprise—in Slytherin. Harry does tell his son, that if it were the case, it would be alright because Severus Snape was a Slytherin and he was the bravest man he ever knew. To me, Slytherins were bad guys and death eaters. So in a way, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” gave us a different side of Slytherin House, which was unusual but refreshing.
Which brings us to another big surprise of the play, which is Albus Potter’s best friend, the one and only, Scorpius Malfoy—do I have to specify he’s Draco Malfoy’s son?
Scorpius is the greatest thing that happens to the entire play. Still today, I laugh at his jokes when I think about them. It had never crossed my mind, that a Slytherin boy—additionally a Malfoy—could be so funny and so kind.
Scorpius brings a significant comfort to Albus, who is mocked and rejected because he is so different from the Potters.
We also see a new, good side of Draco Malfoy who has just lost his wife and cares about only one thing: the wellness of his son.
I was a little disappointed by the simple details of the set. For example, a few suitcases spread across the scene meant the site took place in King Cross; a few students tables meant we were in a Hogwarts’ classroom; a couple of beds meant we were in a dormitory. It was simplistic.
Although I understand the simplicity of a set is necessary for most plays, it took away a little of the magic every plays need, the magic that is especially needed in this one.
The actors were fabulous, with the exception of those portraying Dolores Umbridge and Severus Snape; I guess you can’t replace Alan Rickman and Imelda Staunton.
Overall, I enjoyed the story very much. The humor is present and very well placed, the actors playing our main characters—Harry, Ron, and Hermione—were wonderful, and finally, the production succeeded in showing Hogwarts’ magic.