As a self-confessed Potterhead, having read all the books, seen all the films, attended all the symphony orchestra film concerts… never did I imagine that I would have the opportunity to see this show.
Back in 2016 when I read the published script for Cursed Child within the 3 hours of its release, I never dreamed that the third ever production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (only after London’s West End and New York’s Broadway) would be opening in Australia, let alone my own city, Melbourne.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a unique piece of theatre. Unlike the typical stage show with two acts, this show essentially has four acts divided into two parts of theatre. Part 1 goes for 2 hours and 40 minutes, while Part 2 goes for 2 hours and 35 minutes. Some may believe that the reason the show is so long and expensive is because it is all a big cash grab using the Harry Potter name to sell tickets. I am here to tell you that this isn’t true in the slightest. While the production in total goes for 5 hours and 15 minutes, none of show, not even a single second is a waste of time. Everything in the story has meaning, purpose, flows naturally and is worth every cent.
The story follows Harry when he’s much older as a 37-year-old father with 3 children. Despite the story being titled Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, it focuses mainly on Harry’s second son, Albus Severus Potter who struggles to be the son of the ‘Boy Who Lived’. For us Potterheads, we are no stranger to Albus Potter. In the final Deathly Hallows film, he is the very son that Harry is bidding goodbye to on Platform 9&¾, off to attend his first year at Hogwarts.
While I don’t believe that you necessarily need to have read all the Harry Potter books to understand the show, the characters are much more like their novel counterparts in comparison to what we have seen on-screen. If you have seen all the Harry Potter films, you will still be able to follow the play. If you haven’t seen all the films nor have read any of the books, I strongly suggest doing either or both, otherwise you will be very confused when seeing this show.
There are three types of ways to see this play; you can see it over two consecutive nights, two different shows to your choosing (not recommended), or you can see both Part 1 and Part 2 in the same day. When I witnessed this production, I watched both parts in the same day. If you can sleep well after the cliff-hanger in Part 1, seeing the production over two nights is an option. Otherwise, I would strongly suggest seeing the show in the one day. Yes, it will be long. Yes, it may be exhausting. But I believe it is better to see both parts while they’re still fresh in your mind. Also, if you book for the two consecutive nights or for both parts in one day, you will be able to have the exact same seat for both parts. This is probably the best option as I would hate to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for both parts from two different angles, especially when it’s all one story.
Unfortunately, I cannot tell you any stand out performances without spoilers (I am striving to ‘keep the secrets’). But I must share that this all Australian cast are extremely talented, some even taking on multiple roles to help push the story along. And what a captivating story it is.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child not only made me laugh, shocked me, tugged at my heartstrings and moved me to tears, but you really believe you’re in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World with magic happening right before your eyes. Even though I have read the script book, I was still thoroughly surprised. I have been to a lot of shows and the detail in this production is honestly unlike anything I have ever seen before in any piece of theatre. It’s no wonder why Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the most awarded play in theatre history.
From the newly refurbished and renovated theatre with the “H” for Hogwarts detailed all across the carpet, the lights held by dragons and animals that represent all the four Hogwarts houses adorned around the theatre, to the staff wearing their chosen Hogwarts house colours having done the Pottermore quiz, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne is not just a play, it is an experience. As an avid Harry Potter fan, attending this production was truly one of the best experiences of my life and I strongly suggest making it one of yours.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child officially had its Australian Premiere on Saturday the 23rd of February 2019 and tickets are available now through https://www.harrypottertheplay.com/au/
Photography by Matt Murphy.