The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

I went to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! (Spoiler-free review)

on December 7, 2016

Hi guys! Apologies for my unexpected hiatus. I’ve been AWOL from blogging for about 3 weeks due to #reasons which I won’t go into because they’re boring, but one awesome NOT-boring thing which happened during my hiatus was…

I WENT TO SEE HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD IN LONDON!!!!

harrypplay

OMG, guys, it was glorious! I booked the tickets over a year ago, so I had been waiting a loooong time for this day to come. It had been so hard trying to shield myself from spoilers since the script was released in July, as literally everyone in the world was talking about it, and I wanted to join in so badly. But I stayed strong and managed to resist buying the book/spoiling myself for the story; I wanted the play itself to be a completely new and magical experience. I was getting worried, what with everyone discussing their ‘mixed feelings’ about the book, and I honestly didn’t know what to expect. But I needn’t have worried…

IT WAS HANDS DOWN THE BEST PLAY I HAVE EVER SEEN!!!!

I’m not going to say anything about the plot, as I don’t want to spoil the story for the small percentage who haven’t read the book yet (which I guess I’m still a part of), but I was thoroughly entertained throughout. There was so much humour in the play, so much adventure, lots of touching moments, and most importantly, SO MUCH MAGIC.

The way magic was brought to the stage was the most spectacular thing about the production. Revolving staircases, enchanted bookcases, Polyjuice potion transformations, and magical duelling were all pulled off seamlessly. The Polyjuice transformation in particular was incredible – I couldn’t even work out how they’d done it, and everyone applauded when Hermione and Ron’s heads popped out into spaces just seconds ago occupied by Scorpius and Albus’s faces. IT WAS JUST. LIKE. MAGIC.

I loved the new characters we met in this story: Albus Severus Potter – Harry’s son, and Scorpius Malfoy – Draco’s son. Scorpius was by far my favourite character in the entire play, because he was an adorable little cupcake, and nothing like the heinous monster-child you might expect someone like Malfoy to spawn. I bought this extremely fluffy owl from the merchandise stand and named him Scorpius in his honour:

fluffyscorpius

Anthony Boyle who played Scorpius was hilarious – the flawless, overexcited-nerd voice with which he delivered his lines was EVERYTHING. I can’t do it justice by just describing it, but he brought so much humour to the character. Undeniably he was assigned a lot of funny dialogue anyway, but there were some off-beat lines which had the whole theatre in stitches that I’m not sure would have had quite the same impact if you were reading the script, because it was all in the delivery.

I thought the characterisation was fantastic in the play, and the personalities of all my old favourite characters were extremely well preserved. Ron in particular was SO Ron. Paul Thornley gave my favourite performance in the show – his voice and mannerisms were very similar to the way Rupert Grint portrayed Ron, and his lines constantly had me cracking up with laughter

I LOVED the future envisioned for Hermione in this play – it’s exactly where I imagined her ending up in life. I felt that her personality had mellowed somewhat over the years – she wasn’t quite as deliciously know-it-all as she was in the original books, but she was still aspirationally smart, sharp, and awesome.

Harry was exactly how I imagined him as an adult, and his character development was the most interesting in this play. Harry-the-grown-up still has a lot to learn, and still has a lot of issues to work through (hardly surprising considering all the casual defeating-the-most-powerful-dark-wizard-of-all-time he went through as a child, which was bound to leave more than the one lightening-bolt scar). Harry, frankly, acted like a bit of a dick during certain parts of the play, and I found myself getting frustrated with him, but the fact that Harry is a damaged, real person who makes mistakes and is flawed, has been one of my favourite things about his character since day one.

Aside from the big three, so many of our old faves make an appearance in this play. Some characters that are not-so-nice also turn up, but I have to say that by the end of the play, I actually came out of the theatre with a soft spot for Draco Malfoy. I know a lot of people always lurrrrved Draco, but I always thought he was a colossal douche (in the books… Drarry fanfiction is a different matter altogether). This play changed my mind. I also thought Alex Price, the actor portraying him, was fabulous, and I couldn’t get over how much he looked like Lucius did in the films.

Another unlikeable character who pops up in Cursed Child is Aunt Petunia (although thankfully only in Harry’s dreams). If I had one criticism of the play it’s that I don’t think Aunt Petunia was characterised as nasty enough. I think the problem sits with the dialogue rather than the acting… I felt Aunt Petunia gave Harry far more attention than she did in the books, which didn’t seem true to character. She relayed so much more information, and answered so many more questions than the real Aunt Petunia would have done. Like I said, it was all in Harry’s head, so technically she wasn’t the *real* Petunia, but I would still have expected Harry to dream about her in a more villainous light.

I’ve never been to see a play in two parts before, but it was such an incredible experience. I thought that it would seem like a long day with THAT much theatre crammed in, but it really didn’t; having the break in the middle had me bouncing with excitement for Part 2, as Part 1 ended with the perfect cliffhanger.

I really enjoyed the story, but I could definitely pinpoint areas where it might seem lacking if you were reading the script rather than watching the play, so I can understand to a certain extent where some of the less glowing reviews of the book may have come from. For example, the very beginning of the play packs in several years of Hogwarts into a very short amount of stage-time; if I were reading those scenes in book form, I think they might have come across as rushed and missing context, whereas on the stage, they blended together smoothly as a montage.

I know there are probably other parts of the book that people were disappointed with, but as I avoided reading reviews of the book before going to see the play, I’m not sure what they were! I’d be interested in hearing from people who have read the book to see which bits they felt didn’t live up to their expectations. I’m dying to discuss the play with you all now that I can do so without fear of spoiling if for myself! 🙂

I really want to get my hands on a copy of the book soon for comparison, and to re-live the whole thing; I’m sure there are plenty of little things I missed, particularly when I had the most epic of epic coughing fits and had to leave the theatre for 10 minutes because everyone was giving me evils. SO EMBARASSING.

Overall, I ADORED Harry Potter and the Cursed Child; it was a magical piece of theatre, and a wonderful way to keep the spirit of J.K. Rowling’s books alive. If you have the chance to go and see it one day, I couldn’t recommend it more!

Have you been to see the play, or read the script? What did you think of it? I’d love to hear from you! (P.S. Please indicate *SPOILER ALERT* if your comment contains spoilers…)

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32 responses to “I went to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! (Spoiler-free review)

  1. Cheeky Booky says:

    I only read the script and I love it! 😀 I am sooo jealous you seeing the play. Scorpius is my favourite charascter as well 🙂

    • mudandstars says:

      I’m glad you loved it too! 🙂 Scorpius was brilliant – I’d love to read a spin-off series about him and Albus and the rest of their time at Hogwarts! I’m definitely going to pick up a copy of the script soon 🙂

  2. Aw poor you about the coughing fit! I had a bad cold when I went to see it too – and isn’t that theatre a horrible place to be ill in?! Glad you had an otherwise good time!

  3. *Spoiler Alert*

    I really hated the script, but I’m still very interested to see the play. It won’t be in the US till 2018, so it’ll be a while, haha. I’m curious if all the good stuff about the production will make up for the fact that I thought the plot was rubbish. I just hated the fact that it was all a Time-Turner plot, because it really seemed like a cop-out that messed too much with the existing canon and did nothing to further the actual story. Also the characterization did not read like the Potter characters, but I’m sure it greatly depends on the actors’ performances for that one, so that’s probably no problem on stage. If I ever get the opportunity to see it, I’d love to! I really enjoyed reading your review!

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank you 🙂 Ahh sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy the script! The production was certainly amazing, so I hope you get a chance to see it when it comes to the US and that you’ll enjoy it more live 🙂 I do get what you mean about the plot not adding much to the existing story – I think it does come across as more of a nostalgia trip than ‘the 8th story’. But I liked the way it explored how the events of Harry’s childhood had made him into a messed up adult, and I thought going back to the past made sense as a way of exploring that. I’m interested to see how the characters come across when I read the script – I think the actors performances in the stage show were quite reminiscent of the way the characters were portrayed in the films, so for me they felt like the same old characters, but I can see where there might have been holes if I was reading their dialogue instead of watching it. Especially for Hermione – I think her characterisation and dialogue was quite different from the Hermione of the books, and it was only because of good acting that she came across Hermione-like at all!

  4. Aww so glad you loved this!!! And Scorpius looks super cute!!! 😉 😀

    • mudandstars says:

      He is!! 🙂 I couldn’t resist him, he was so cute and so fluffy! And thank you, I had such an amazing time! Have you read the book or been to see the play? If so, what did you think of it? 🙂

  5. I’m so glad you enjoyed the play!! Even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of the script, I feel like it’d be a lot better to see it in play format. I did enjoy the nostalgia of re-experiencing the HP world, but I felt like the plot was a bit too much at times. I loved Scorpius to pieces though.

    *Spoilers*

    I love that Harry is such a flawed character and it’s why I love him so much, but I just can’t believe that he would ever say something so awful to his own son. That was probably my biggest issue with the script.

    There was also something that Jo wrote about Time Turners in one of the Pottermore books that completely makes the entire plot of TCC invalid so that affected my enjoyment too, haha.

    • mudandstars says:

      Thanks Lauren! It was so nostalgic, and I’m glad you were a Scorpius fan too! He was just brilliant, and comedy gold.
      *Spoilers*
      Yes I definitely understand what you mean – it did seem pretty extreme, and I was shocked that he was behaving like such a dick. I think it made sense to me only because Albus was saying similarly awful things to him too, and it just slipped out in the heat of the moment. Harry was quite an angry character in the later books, so it kind of reminded me of that hot-headedness. Thinking about it though, it does seem out of character when you consider Harry’s upbringing and how unloved he felt as a child that he would say something that makes his own son feel just as unloved.
      Oooh what does it say in the Pottermore books about Time Turners? I’ve not read them, but I definitely want to soon!

  6. You absolutely ROCKED this review, Jess! The play sounds sooo more interesting now! I still haven’t read the book and honestly I’m zero excited to do so, as I hate reading plays, but I wish I could watch it… ESPECIALLY AFTER LEARNING ABOUT THE ~POTENCIAL~ROMANCE BETWEEN YOU KNOW WHICH CHARACTERS!!!! ❤

    • mudandstars says:

      Thanks so much! I’m not the biggest fan of reading plays either, but in some ways it can be fun – as you get to use your imagination a lot more. I hope you do read the book someday though, I can’t wait to discuss it with you! And yes I know exactly what you mean about that potential romance… I mean, it wasn’t really a romance at all, but the subtext was totally there hahaa.

  7. Yay! I know you had been looking forward to the play for so long, I am so happy it lived up to your expectations!

    “I’m not sure would have had quite the same impact if you were reading the script, because it was all in the delivery.”

    This!!! People are reading the script like a book, but it isn’t a book at all! I for one enjoyed the script, but I also knew what it was going into it. I think the hype and the marketing for the script was where things went wrong. Marketing it as the 8th book was a mistake. People were really expecting another book and to travel back to Hogwarts.

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank you – it certainly did! It was so hard waiting to see it and avoiding spoilers! I couldn’t agree more – if you go in with expectations of it being the eight Harry Potter novel you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Plays are such a different medium, and so much is left unsaid because the story comes out in more ways than just the words on the page when it’s performed. I’m really glad that you enjoyed the script – I remember being reassured by your review, as I’d seen so many negative ones, and it made me so excited to go and see it! 🙂

  8. YAAAAAAAAY! I’m so glad you enjoyed it so much, it’s amazing, right? It sounds like you had an absolutely awesome day, which I’m so glad about. ❤

    This is such a great review, too. I chickened out of doing one because I found it so hard to articulate why the show was so incredible, but you've smashed it. I agree that the magic elements were completely magical (still can't work out how they did the phonebox thing?!?!) and Scorpius was fabulous. I'm so glad he won the best newcomer to the West End award because he really was brilliant.

    I've got the script book but haven't read it yet, either, but I can definitely understand how parts of the play just won't translate to the page with any emotion. The real depth comes from the actors and it's such a shame that a lot of people won't be able to experience that. I hope we both enjoy the script nonetheless! x

    • mudandstars says:

      Thanks Sammie! ❤ It was indeed amazing!! When did you go and see it? What was your favourite part? It was definitely a hard review to write, especially as I didn’t want it to come across too much like rubbing it in the faces of people who can’t go and see it haha. The phonebox thing was amazing, I had no idea how they managed that either. And the polyjuice potion – it was just flawless. Ooh I didn’t know that Scorpius had won best newcomer to the West End, but it is thoroughly deserved! I would love a spin-off series of books about the adventures of Albus and Scorpius. Absolutely agree – the emotion and delivery of some of the lines is what made them, especially some of the funny parts. It is a shame that most people won’t get to experience the full shebang – maybe one day they’ll turn it into a film, or release a recording of the stage play. Let me know when you get round to reading the book – we can discuss how it compares! 🙂 xx

      • No worries! I went to see it once in June, and then again in August because I was crazy lucky to get two sets of tickets and couldn’t turn them down. It was cool though because I got to see the show from two different seats, which made it a totally different experience both times! 🙂 I know – I feel like that is definitely one of the reasons I didn’t write a review, too. I know right?! I still ponder that one now aha, and you’re right when you say it was totally flawless. Just unbelievably magical, really. 🙂 Me too – I love them together although I kind of wish their connection was romantic, there were definitely points where I felt like it was going to go that way and I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t. Totally! I really hope that they do record a show and turn it into a DVD, I think that would definitely go some way to making it better for a lot of fans and it’s also something that I’d love to add to my collection haha. Yes I definitely will – look forward to hearing your thoughts! 🙂 x

      • mudandstars says:

        Ahh that’s so awesome you got to see it twice! I imagine you caught loads of new things you missed the second time around. I completely agree with you about Scorpius and Albus, I was hoping things would go that way too – there was definitely chemistry. And I thought Scorpius’s crush on Rose felt a bit forced, because clearly he was into Albus. No doubt somebody somewhere has written this fanfiction haha. xx

  9. Glad to hear you had such a good time. I didn’t enjoy the screenplay, yet I thought it would be much better on stage than read in a novel. More Wizarding World of Harry Potter the better I say.

    • mudandstars says:

      Thanks Matt! Ahh sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy the script – what do you think it was that you didn’t like about it? I definitely could see a lot of parts which wouldn’t have translated as well if you were reading the book rather than watching the play – a lot of the dialogue really relied on the way the actors delivered the lines, especially the funny parts. And I totally agree – I’ll never get bored of HP! Have you seen Fantastic Beasts yet? If so, what did you think of it? 🙂

      • Yes, the dialogue was poor. It didn’t relate to the characters very well at least in the screenplay format. I expect with the right actors and actresses it would sound better coming from them instead of in my head. No, but I want to see that film so badly. I haven’t had much time to go see films lately.

      • mudandstars says:

        Aww that’s a shame – hope you get a chance to go and see it soon! It was brilliant 🙂

  10. […] » Jess @Mud and the Stars Book Blog shares her experience seeing the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child → I went to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! (Spoiler-free review) […]

  11. […] review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I had much fun reliving the memories of watching this magical piece of theatre. Wish I could go […]

  12. Hollyster says:

    I saw it last October (or so) and my dad surprised me with tickets to go again at the end of this month! I totally agree with this being the best piece of theatre i have EVER SEEN! I am so excited to go again! Scorpius is my ultimate favourite and you won’t ever be able to get that out of just reading it. haha! 🙂 x

    • mudandstars says:

      Ahh I’m so jealous! Would love to go and see it again! Totally agree about Scorpius, the acting was EVERYTHING. He was hilarious, and just so adorable. Still really want to read the play at some point for comparison, but I’m so happy I got to see the show itself at the theatre. x

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