When my mum announced we were going to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the West End, it felt almost as magical as when I was given the first movie as a Christmas present.
But I was anxious to see how its plot would fold out on stage. I remember reading the screenplay for Cursed Child, written by Jack Thorne, the day it came out after buying it from my local Waterstones.
Like most fans, I wasn’t very happy with the plot. However, as a theatre fan as well as a Potter fan, I appreciate the way a production can transform a story into something you might not have first imagined when reading.
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From the first act, I was pleased to be proved right about how it was transformed on stage. To see the Wizarding World come to life was everything a fan could dream of, but what struck me most was the originality of the set design and costumes.
The costumes impressed me because they weren’t just replicas of the Hogwarts robes worn throughout the movie, but still kept the essence of them enough to feel like you really are stepping into the world of Hogwarts.
Without wanting to spoil too much, the plot really was just as insane as I remembered it.
One of the most annoying plot points was the character of Cedric Diggory turning evil and becoming a Death Eater.
For someone whose character was defined by their unwavering, innate goodness, a Death Eater arc feels completely unrealistic.
Perhaps I could have been convinced if they actually delved into Cedric’s character development, but the only explanation given is that he was humiliated out of the Triwizard Tournament.
Another issue was in the pacing, with the two shows definitely feeling too long by the first half of the second show.
Not only was it excessively long, but there were general pacing issues too. The first act sees Albus and Scorpius zoom through their second, first and third years of Hogwarts.
This meant that their later school years seemed to drag out across the rest of the play, which didn’t help when the play is so long already.
The use of time turners meant that there were no real stakes felt throughout. Every time a main character died, or when evil characters came back, you knew everything would be fine in the end thanks to time travel.
There were also moments where the dialogue felt like it was used to explain the plot points that had just happened so the audience could keep up, which didn’t help with the pre-existing pacing issues. It definitely started to feel repetitive.
Where there was no sense of tragedy, however, there was comedy. In fact, Cursed Child worked so well in its comedic moments that I was left wanting a Harry Potter sitcom.
Special mentions have to go to Luke Sumner who played Scorpius Malfoy, whose character felt the most developed and definitely became my favourite.
Other highlights in terms of casting were Madeleine Walker who played Delphi Diggory and Lucy Mangan who played Moaning Myrtle.
In terms of the set, moments such as arranging the suitcases into the Hogwarts Express and the Sorting Hat being portrayed by Mark Theodore were also highlights.
Despite the play’s downfalls, namely the plot and its length, I would still recommend it to any Potterhead and wouldn’t hesitate to go back.
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