Photos were taken by my lovely friend and Cursed Child companion Alice – @aliopalio30
This review is spoiler free #Keepthesecrets
Roll back almost a year to August the 4th 2016, as Dad and I initiated a two-prong approach to getting tickets to this sought after play. I was tasked with joining and watching the online queues whilst Dad attempted to buy tickets through the phone line. Even with it being the designated access line, and therefore had fewer people in the queue than the main phone line, it still took 7 hours – it may have been almost poetic in the context of the Harry Potter if it wasn’t so stressful. That being said, we got tickets, and it was so worth it!
The entire weekend was fabulous, and the show was beyond description.
From the opening scene to the fourth and final encore, what struck me the most and which left me speechless and completely (if you’ll excuse the pun) spellbound was the fluidity of the play. Movement and stillness were used phenomenally to not only add depth to the acting and the story but to also for transition and transportation of props. The choreographed movement employed by the actors created illusions and effects that I really don’t understand how they did it, but which was executed beautifully and with an ease that could only come with dedication and practice.
This dedication to the play and the story, and in extension to the fans, was evident everywhere. The lighting and sound personnel deserve an ovation much the same as the actors. I’ve got the program next to me as I write this because I really don’t want to miss people. However, there are far more roles than I ever could have imagined so apologies if I do get a little muddled. The use of sound for atmosphere, as well as effect, is important in any show but never before have I seen it be used so intricately, or so well timed. Every spell cast, every swish of the wand, had a sound, not to forget the lighting and effects as well, paired so perfectly that, even with the proof, I am not convinced it wasn’t magic. Scrap that, everyone involved in this production is magic! Especially the directors and heads of department: John Tiffany, Steven Hoggett (Movement), Christine Jones (Set Designer), Katrina Lindsay (Costume), Imogen Heap (Composer and Arranger), Neil Austin (Lighting), Gareth Fry (Sound Designer), Jamie Harrison (Illusions and Magic), Martin Lowe (Music Supervisor and Arranger), and Julia Horan CDG (Casting Director).
Everyone’s hard work came together to create an atmosphere that felt instinctively ‘Harry Potter’ without feeling as though it had been recycled. Whilst I cannot describe the show (or the later Harry Potter books) as particularly warm it possessed the depth and the vibrancy that I associate with the franchise; mostly born of the detail.
I’ve spoken about the movement, the fluidity before, and this will most likely not be the last time either. It utterly took my breath away, and it was everywhere. The movement of the cloaks was phenomenal
From the movement of the cloaks, the way they flowed behind the actors or were drawn across and around to convey emotion, everything was considered. They and the rest of the costumes were used to not only to help convey the personalities of the various (and very exciting) characters but also the tone changes. These details paired with the incredible acting talent meant that I the story was all immersive. Speaking of immersive, the set design was so so smart … and unfortunately that’s all I can really say without spoilers (#Keepthesecrets).
Being cast as such beloved and well-known characters must have been nerve-shaking, however, if any of the cast members felt the pressure it didn’t show. They were spectacular, as far as I am a concerned they embodied the characters that have come to mean so much to me so thoroughly that there was no room for doubt about who the characters were. Growing and developing these characters we were shown vulnerability and reflection from characters who may have seemed unlikely candidates for these moments, but never once did it feel anything but truthful. These were characters – individuals – who were allowed to stay true to themselves but having matured and had time to look back realised their mistakes and sought to rectify them. For them, as well as the audience, it was emotional.
For fear of rambling more than I have already done so, and due to my frustrations that I am unable to fully articulate the wonder, emotion, and complete awe and fascination that the production made me feel, I shall stop writing and just say this: Go and see this play, spend seven hours on the phone to get tickets; even longer if necessary. It’s more than worth it.