Harry Potter and the Cursed Child- Palace Theatre: “is a phenomenon” ★★★★★

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Palace Theatre, London
Reviewed on Thursday 20th July and Friday 21st July 2017 by Sebastian Singh

★★★★★

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Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

Winner of a record-breaking 9 Olivier awards, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a phenomenon. Starting where the final book finished, 19 years later, Harry and his friends are working adults and their children are attending Hogwarts- when one of Harry’s children feels isolated and seeks acceptance from his father, an adventure begins, with many twists and turns.

There is a big expectation on this show: sold out from opening night for 18 months and opening on Broadway in Spring 2018 (with 7 principal cast members from the original West End production), audiences have high hopes of this play. And this production more than delivers: there is a superb cast that engages the audience from start to finish but for me it was the incredible stagecraft that really makes this show exceptional.

Jack Thorne in collaboration with J.K. Rowling has produced a script with many twists and turns and John Tiffany has then shaped it into one of the most phenomenal pieces I have ever seen. It is an absolute spectacle- Tiffany along with many other creatives has delivered magic on stage through some very clever techniques and stage trickery. He knows how to fully flesh out a show, integrating every element within theatre and is completely deserving of his Best Director Olivier Award for this production.

The set design by Christine Jones was striking, intricate and highly functional. The story flows at a rapid pace and the scenes move fluidly from one to the next which is also helped by Neil Austin’s clever lighting, which hid things when necessary and added to the mystery and illusion. Katrina Lindsay’s costumes were fantastic, keeping the authenticity of the wizarding world that audiences know. A fantastic orchestration by Imogen Heap helps the play to really flow and keep pace. Elements of the production were stellar and audiences audibly gasped as magic happened right there in the theatre. The stagecraft and trickery through illusion, by Jamie Harrison, made this 5-hour play thrilling to watch from start to finish.

The whole cast worked well in this play but for me, Samuel Belkin as Scorpius Malfoy, was outstanding. He is very energetic: full of heart and soul and performed the role magnificently, adding a lot of humour and emotion. Also, Thomas Aldridge as Ron Weasley was extremely good, carrying many of the quirks through and made the character feel extremely realistic. A special mention must also go to Jamie Glover as Harry Potter: he captures so much complexity within this role. It is a thought-provoking and beautiful performance that really delves deep into the troubles that an orphaned child may have when they become a parent.

I feel that this is a show that has altered the theatrical landscape for the future and it is exciting and fresh. People are attending the theatre who previously may not have and families are going to the show together, which is always wonderful to see. Long may it run!

This production is booking until December 2017 (more tickets will be released in Autumn 2017).

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