Ahead of the double-show gala day at the West End’s Palace Theatre this Saturday, a galaxy of stars have already turned out for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. And I’m not just talking about Emma Watson and other celebrities who have sneaked in during seven weeks of previews.
(The Cursed Child started performances in the dim and distant near-past before the UK voted to leave the European Union: if only time travel really were possible. As a vocal Remainer, I’m sure Harry Potter author J K Rowling would perform that trick for us if she could.)
Critics have had their first chance to pass judgment today and have unanimously – and internationally – awarded the two-part stage saga rave reviews: four and five stars across the spectrum.
I’ve gathered a cross-section of the top overnight reviews below. Don’t worry too much about spoilers: critics have tried hard to obey the hashtag pledge to #KeepTheSecrets. You may have more trouble avoiding spoilers after Saturday when the script is published in book form – the eighth book in the Potter series – for which new records are being broken and midnight parties planned around the world (one sample from Manchester cited below).
There are still ways to get a ticket if you haven’t already, apart from paying through the nose on secondary ticketing sites: every Friday at 1pm, 40 tickets are release for every performance the following week. Check the official show website for The Friday Forty details. Otherwise, book ahead for 2017 or keep an eye out for details of the planned Broadway transfer.
Based on an original new story by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a new play by Jack Thorne, directed by John Tiffany. What’s it all about?
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.