Now, a week has gone past and I feel safe to talk about my feelings over this as I have been thinking about this NON-STOP! I am going to admit now that I only read the script once cover to cover (day of release) and read parts of it for two discussions post I wrote using only the script as context (so, yeah... kinda reading without context (both are spoiler-filled so won't say what they are, but if you want to read my thoughts of reading the script first-time round here or, if you are feeling braver and want to read either of my "This could be taken out of context but let's talk about these topics!" posts, you can click here or here).
And before I am going to go any further, am going to try my hardest to keep this as spoiler-free as possible. I know the script is out there and I know most/all of us Harry Potter fans have read it, but I will explain why in a tick...
Set within a mini-Hogwarts of Palace Theatre, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child follows the story nineteen years on (ok, maybe not exactly nineteen years on... but let's turn that into a game, shall we?) and events that follow between Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco and Ginny and their children, mainly Albus and Scorpius.
Let's leave it there as any more, I fear spoilers. But, reactions to play...
I have to admit, I love seeing a show up London. It's rare for me so, when I do, I get excited. A few months earlier, I got to see Aladdin at the Prince Theatre (barely 30 second walk. That's how close it was!) as a Christmas present from my Other Half (and it was Disney fun! The world needs so light-hearted fun!) and I have seen a few others in my life - Acorn Antiques: The Musical, Phantom of the Opera (it was mostly a blur as this was in days where eyesight was poor and I needed glasses... so much for laser eye surgery!), Lion King (breathtakingly good! If you get tickets for this, GO!), Mary Poppins and a few others linked to school.
But this was different. This is Harry Potter. This is my childhood. This is our childhood. And while I have read the script and had quite a few problems, this was different. I was seeing this in the form it was meant to be seen it.
And I couldn't stop bouncing in my seat. Am surprised Other Half didn't stapled me into the chair at one point.
I loved the play. Of course, I knew I would. But I was shocked at how much I loved it. Watching it worked far better than I expected to. Maybe it's because Cursed Child was written for the stage in mind. But things worked beautifully here.
It reminded me, in a weird way, of the West End version of The Lion King, where the shows did things to push boundaries. However, Cursed Child went further and they worked. How the theatre/actors must have felt when the director/producers/scriptwriter and JK herself handed them the script is a mystery - but can imagine them, at one point, thinking "How on earth are we going to do this?!"
Everything about this play felt on point. The special effect, the movement on stage, the magic, changing scenes, the acting (both main, background and cover - am sure I had a cover actor playing Hermione and Ginny and I loved them both), the music (I LOVE THE MUSIC! But then, I adore Imogen Heap and she's the composer of the music within this show), the humour. Even the shock moments - there's one moment where a line was spoken and everyone in the audience gasped in shock. Everything felt on point.
As I said, the show is a lot funny than I expected. And the humour came from unexpected characters. And it felt oddly natural to have these light moments for these characters. There was one moment that a joke got a louder laugh than anyone expected and, because of this, the actor who said it might have broke character for a few seconds and had to turn his back on audience to gather himself (and because of this, I love him and think it was quite sexy. Though, whether I think the character is sexy, how the actor portrayed the character is sexy or the actor himself is sexy is anyone's guess. Answers on a postcode, please...)
And, while this is a Harry Potter plan and yes, Harry is in it, this does feel more like a play of Albus and Scorpius. It follows them more and they are the heart of the story. This does include Harry and Draco, in my opinion. These four characters make the play have its heart and move it emotionally forward.
Of course, this play isn't perfect. I have a few issues (of course I do, this is me we are talking about here). While most are smaller issues and I can live with them (one character/actor bothered me a little in their portrayal), there is one or two things that bother me.
The first is that this play is in London and in two parts. I feel a little guilty that I can hop on a train and I'm in London. If you live anywhere else in the world (USA, Canada, Australia, China, India, etc) and, for the foreseeable future, definitely till the end of 2017, the play is staying in London. Great for UK economy and tourism, not so great if you can't afford to come to UK. I do hope that, while this might stay in UK, that plans are in place for this show to either have a second home aboard or have an international tour... As the for two parts, you have to pay twice and some people might struggle to watch both of these parts in one day (I was fine, my Other Half admitted that he struggled a little and I do feel that people will fit in either of these camps).
My second is probably the same as everyone else's. While the play is wonderful and I can't stop thinking about it and am itching to reread the script again (the script is nothing. The bare bones.) till I get my hands on Garth Nix's Goldenhand (Do you know how long I have waited for this book? Not as long as Sirius Black but close enough). But the main problem most fans are going to have is the plot. The plot is the weakest thing about the whole play. There are elements within the story that do feel farfetched and while it works in the play because of one reason or another, take the plot away from the stage and away from the script and problems creep up.
My Other Half overheard a conversion someone talking about Cursed Child after seeing Part One and, para-phrasing, said "The play is great. The story, however...".
I know we have been told to accept this as cannon, but I don't think most fans will. Ever after seeing (and loving) the play, there are small elements of fan fiction within it.
But, I really enjoyed watching it. So much so, I'm itching to see it again (and, of course, all tickets are sold out till December 2017). But till then... will just reread the script...