Having purchased tickets over a year before going to see the production, I had been counting down the days (months) till the performance. What I hadn’t expected was to queue right the way around the theatre building, behind people who also had purchased tickets a year in advance. Then I realised, everyone there was just as I was – part of a generation who love and long for more access into the Potter universe. If you’re interested in seeing the performance in September 2017 (the next available ticket date) then here is what you can expect.
Spoilers hopefully avoided!
On entering the theatre, you will be guided to your seat by ushers wearing various Hogwarts ties. This created a calming realisation that the setting would remain concrete and familiar. A great worry of mine was the magic would be underwhelming and obvious compared to the on-screen wizardry we are used to. Yet, fear not, the magic created was understated yet astounding, the kind of sorcery that leaves you with a wry smile. Without wanting to spoil anything all I will say is this – sometimes it does not matter that you can see strings.
“There were songs played to denote the passing of time”
There is, somewhat unexpectedly in this performance, the addition of musical numbers. That isn’t to say Harry Potter has become a musical, but there were songs played to denote the passing of time, which, when combined with routine movements and clever set designs, worked excellently to break up the action and give audience members a moment of respite. An ingenious addition in my opinion! Much of the soundtrack was made up from Imogen Heap songs, which strangely added to the sense of nostalgia already associated with the Potter franchise, as somewhere in the recesses of our minds we all remember a few lyrics from her 2005 album.
“These simple sets work expertly”
The sets used are relatively simplistic. A theatre set would never have lived up to the highly elaborate images of Hogwarts and the Ministry of Magic created in our minds through the work of Chris Columbus and Stephen Fry. Thus, these simple sets work expertly to give an impression and create a sense of the place that most members of the audience know well.
“This is a performance targeted at people who know and love the franchise”
Therefore, I would say, this is a performance targeted at people who know and love the franchise. It has been created so as not to condescend those who know the stories well with reminders and obvious markers, but to treat them to something new with nods to things past.
“Six hours of Potter is fabulous, naysayers be damned”
My only piece of advice would be that a break between performances is necessary. Six hours of Potter is fabulous, naysayers be damned. Although left on a painful cliff-hanger, having at least an evening in between to digest the action and consider what is to come helped to prolong the magic and made the second evening all the more wonderful.
“Alas, there will be no Rupert Grint”
I thoroughly recommend any Potter-lover who can to go and see this performance. Be sure to approach Cursed Child as something new so as not to be disappointed, as alas, there will be no Rupert Grint.
Image credit: Ginny Moore