Synopsis: Prepare to be on the edge of your seat as Harry, Ron and Hermione launch into a thrilling new adventure that begins 19 years later in a one-show incarnation following its world premiere as a two-part play.
From the first utterance of “You’re a wizard, Harry,” the Harry Potter universe has captured the attention of children and adults alike. From the spellbinding journey to the themes of friendship and love overcoming evil, this franchise has a lasting effect that left it poised for a stage opportunity. In comes Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, written by Jack Thorne with the aid of the story’s original author J.K. Rowling and the director of Cursed Child John Tiffany, allowing us to return once more to the wizarding world to see what has become of our firebrand trio.
Achieving this technical feat required a crew of the finest technical team they could muster. Lighting design by Neil Austin, costume design by Katrina Lindsay, set design by Christine Jones, and hair, make-up, and wig design by Carole Hancock were inspired, perfectly exploring the feel of the world created. But, what is Harry Potter without magic? The practical effects creating the magic by Jamie Harrison were the true show-stopping moment of the show. Each spell cast, magic trick performed, and illusion created left a sense of awe rippling through the Lyric Theatre.
The cast under the precise direction of John Tiffany with choreography/movement by Steven Hoggett made looking away impossible lest you miss some subtle moment shared between the cast. The cast handled the material provided to them and propelled the story along.
The cracks of this show are when we start looking at the script by Jack Thorne. This version having been condensed from the original 6-hour two-show version into a 3.5-hour show with a standard intermission moved a rapid pace with exposition which had it feeling manic and left a lot of characters brought on for a brief moment only to never see them again. While at the same time feeling like a bold departure from characters we know and love. Some of the choices made by Harry felt wildly out of character after knowing him throughout 7 books and 8 movies.
Many of the legacy characters felt like they were pigeonholed into the plot to get the audience going “Oh I know him/her!” The villain reveal also felt so far out of the left field as the audience barely interacted with them throughout the narrative that it made for an “oh yeah that person exists” moment. The decision to add into the condensed version Scorpius and Albus as possibly queer was a great decision that left the audience wishing they sealed it fully.
Overall, fans of the series will adore the show. The technical aspects are well crafted and brilliant to see on the stage. Many of the hiccups with the script are easy to get over as well. If fun and magic were how we were judging this it would receive exemplary marks.
However, from a story and script aspect, this show stands at 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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