A Worthy Addition to the Harry Potter saga
I’ve read the Harry Potter books and seen the films. If you haven’t, you might be less intrigued than I was by this return to Hogwarts because the past looms heavy in this new adventure.
JK Rowling tells a good children’s story that adults can also enjoy, and she does it again with her stage play Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, currently at the Palace Theatre London.
Her chronicle of good versus evil in the world of witchcraft continues with the sons of Harry Potter and his former enemy Draco Malfoy. Both boys suffer from being the children of well-known parents. That’s why they become friends and go an adventure together, an adventure which is as much about the excitement of problem solving as fighting evil.
Good story by JK Rowling- great play by Jack Thorne
The Cursed Child is blessed with a script by Jack Thorne which is full of humour and emotional depth, especially in the difficult relationship between the adult Harry and his adolescent son, both troubled by the past in their different ways, both feeling inadequate. It’s also fascinating to see the way Draco Malfoy is changed and challenged by becoming a parent.
The story is about the effect of the past on the present. Literally and chillingly, we see that changing the past can change the present. More interestingly, what the older characters have or haven’t done previously affects how they are now. It is this exploration that makes what otherwise would be a good children’s show into something of real interest to an adult audience.
There are many very good characters well acted. When I saw the plays, Rayke Ayola showed a good range of emotion as Hermione Granger. I especially liked the Malfoys played with relish by James Howard and young Samuel Blenkin, who was the star of the show.
John Tiffany’s production has some excellent theatrical effects: the appearance of the Dementors is spine tingling. The illusions by Jamie Harrison that provide some real ‘wow’ moments such as the split second in which actors seem to disappear into a telephone.
The difficulty for me is that while action adventures told on a stage work well for children, for adults they can seem a little melodramatic. Despite or perhaps because of an existential threat in the story, this is no exception.
That said, this is a magical production and a worthy addition to the Harry Potter saga.
Harry Potter And The Cursed Child can be seen at the Palace Theatre London
Here’s my review from the YouTube channel One Minute Theatre Reviews