WARNING! THIS POST DEFINITELY CONTAINS SPOILERS ABOUT HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD PLAY IN LONDON. PLEASE DON’T READ UNLESS YOU’RE READY TO!
I don’t even know where to begin. Let’s start with the basics: I saw Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 and 2 in London. The play was incredible. I cried twice. I feel like I did when I finally finished all the books: what do I do now? I tried so hard to avoid any spoilers and I haven’t read the novel so I knew absolutely nothing going into the play. If you’re a HP fanatic, I thought you’d like to know how the actors stood up to one of the most iconic British novels of all time. You won’t find lots of details about the plot (read the book instead!) but there are spoilers.
Also: shout out to my friend Christine who was smart enough to buy tickets during the pre-sale. I owe you my life!
Jamie Parker as HARRY POTTER: Start with the big one, right? Jamie is absolutely flawless. How do you even begin to play a 40-something Harry Potter? While he’s always dressed in a nice suit, Jamie is 100% believable as Harry we all know. He’s obviously a grown man but Jamie is able to keep that boyish air about Harry, from the way he sits, interacts with other characters and even when he shrugs off doing paperwork at his job (Head of Magical Law Enforcement ). The story really focuses on Harry trying to be a good Dad to his middle son Albus, even though he had no father figure himself (besides Dumbledore and we all know how dangerous that was). The two don’t understand how to connect with each other: the Boy Who Lived trying to raise a quiet Slytherin son. Jamie captures this internal struggle perfectly.
Poppy Miller as GINNY POTTER: Poppy is such a lovely adult Ginny. She’s fiercely protective of her family, strong-willed and keeps the family (especially Harry) in one piece. Everyone listens when Poppy has something to say.
Sam Clement as ALBUS POTTER: What an actor. Sam is so great at bringing Albus to life, a shy boy with only a single friend at Hogwarts while constantly living in his father’s shadow. He’s a moody teenager that rebels but secretly looks for Harry’s approval. A really fantastic performance and totally believable.
Noma Dumezweni as HERMIONE GRANGER: A bunch of people lost their minds that Noma was going to play Hermione. Let me tell you: she was incredible. Noma was everything I pictured adult Hermione to be and more. We learn she’s the Minister of Magic, married to Ron with two children and never backs down from chaos. She’s funny, intelligent, confident and so totally perfect.
Paul Thornley as RON WEASLEY: Paul is effortlessly silly and loveable as Ron. He’s so in love with Hermione, making sure everyone is happy and is intent on grabbing the spotlight with Harry and Hermione when he can. Paul also has some of the best lines in the play and delivers them perfectly. He also seems like he would give genuinely good hugs.
Cherrelle Skeete as ROSE GRANGER-WEASLEY: Cherrelle is bubbly, funny and sweet. The cutest child you can picture and always keeps Ron and Hermione guessing. She’s often silly like Ron but confident and ambitious like Hermione.
Alex Price as DRACO MALFOY: Alex is aloof, cold and a great adult Draco. Eventually you see a different (refreshing) side to Draco, a concerned father and a grieving husband. He’ll do anything to protect his son Scorpius, even turning to the Potter’s for help. Alex also has a perfect voice (loud, deep, confident) to match the character.
Anthony Boyle as SCORPIUS MALFOY: Anthony blew me away and definitely stole the show. He’s Draco’s son and totally the opposite of what you’d imagine: he’s timid, often stutters or says the wrong thing (he complimented a girl he likes by saying she smells like fresh bread), a total follower, his voice awkwardly breaks and has no friends until Albus comes along. He’s so sweet, nerdy and kind. I am so in love. The friendship between Scorpius and Albus is like, crying-worthy. So sweet.
Esther Smith as DELPHINI: This character seemingly comes out of nowhere. She befriends Albus and Scorpius only to turn on them in a plot twist I did NOT see coming. Esther is bold, brave and incredibly powerful as Delphini. When she speaks, you’re sure to listen. A perfect casting choice!
I was also surprised by a few appearances from Moaning Myrtle (played by Annabel Baldwin who was absolutely hilariously fantastic), Professor Snape (briefly), Hagrid and even Albus Dumbledore himself, even if it was just his painting.
The Sets & Special Effects
Once we get past the actors, the show itself was incredibly well-done. The sets were simple and easily moved around but everything was easy to understand. They utilized two large moving staircases a lot (which helps add level to the stage) and you completely forget that they’re not actually the famous moving staircase at Hogwarts. Other scenes used simple desks and chairs, doors or falling snow.
What really impressed me was the special effects. Like you’d imagine a play with magic, there were tons of stunts that had me guessing how they’d do it: fire coming out of wands, characters flying into the air with no visible wires, furniture moving on its own, characters disappearing behind the Cloak of Invisibility and even Albus, Scorpius and Delphini drinking Polyjuice potion and changing into different actors on stage. Really cool.
They also had full-scale Dementors fly over the audience that genuinely gave me the creeps and a hidden pool under the stage to signify the lake at Hogwarts.
Lord Voldemort does make a quick appearance. He looks like you’d expect, greyish skin, black robes and distorted face. He even walks through the audience when making his final exit.
As I was standing in line I thought, “Is this going to be a musical? Singing? Songs?” There was definitely music (although you won’t hear the usual HP theme song) but there was no singing. I am grateful. The (instrumental) music was often just for quickly changing sets and definitely had the “magical Hogwarts” feel, or dark and eerie when it called for it.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Review: The Verdict?
I love Harry Potter. The series were the first books I ever enjoyed reading and I was very hesitant of this play ruining the franchise. But it hasn’t and for that I am forever grateful to everyone involved, JK Rowling, the actors and the crew.
I’m still a believer in the Boy Who Lived.