I don’t normally do theatre reviews, but I’ve decided to make an exception. Given the hype around the ‘8th story’ to the Harry Potter series and the extreme difficulty people are having getting their hands on tickets, I’m sure people want to know…. is it really worth it?
Now in case you’re hoping for spoilers here, you can stop reading now. The hashtag #keepthesecrets has been set up by J.K Rowling in the hopes of allowing audiences to still be able to experience the element of surprise, and so far, after about a month of previews, this has actually worked.
The show has been split up into Parts I & II, each running for roughly 2 hours and 30 minutes. It is playing at the beautiful Palace Theatre located in London’s West End district. Arriving at the theatre we were greeted by extremely enthusiastic staff who could easily been mistaken for people working at Fred and George’s joke shop. There was a buzz in the air, most people bought themselves a £5 program and the souvenir store was packed with Potterheads hoping to get their hands on some £20 Gryffindor t-shirts. It was certainly very exciting just being in the theatre and we couldn’t wait for it to begin.
We arrived at our seats in the nosebleed section (I.e. the balcony) and we were surprised at how good the view was given the tickets were only £10. The theatre has been set up in a way that no matter where you are sitting, even if there was a handrail obstruction, you could still see the majority if the stage.
The lights dimmed, the ‘no photography’ and ‘turn off your phones’ announcement was made and the show began…
Instantly we were mesmirised by what was happening before us. The sets were simple yet effective, costumes were as they were in the movies and the actors were astounding.
Without giving too much away, the story is set 22 years after Harry has graduated from Hogwarts and picks up where the final book/movie left off – with the Harry/Ginny and Ron/Hermoine couplings sending their children off the Hogwarts. There are PLENTY of familiar faces throughout the story and some new ones as well.
It isn’t a musical so there are no sudden eruptions of singing and dancing, however there is plenty of choreographed movement which adds to the theatricality of it all. But I must say, one of the most incredible things about this play is the ‘magic’. It is hard to describe but seeing things floating, disappearing and transforming live on stage with no visible strings or trapdoors does play with your mind a little bit. Given I’m a huge fan of magic shows and have been known to perform the odd card trick here and there, I was left thoroughly entertained and wowed by what the creators were able to achieve without digital enhancement. Throughout the evening, the audience was in bursts of laughters, ‘awws’ of sympathy and gasps of shock. It was a rollercoaster of emotions and by the end of the evening we were left on a knife’s edge cliffhanger … And that was only Part I.
The next evening we hurried excitedly back into the same seats as the previous night to get ready for ‘Part II’. We had both come up with theories of what was going to happen, all of which turned out to be completely wrong. Now with Part I being such an overwhelming play on the senses, how could they possibly keep us entertained for another two and a half hours?
Now this part had much less ‘magic tricks’, more ‘heat’ (interpret as you wish). The characters develop even more depth and the emotional rollercoaster that was felt on the first night, goes through even steeper dips and a few loops on this final evening. The roars of laugher were still frequent, the sound of shocked audience members echoed in bouts but most notably for me, were the tears and sniffles that could be heard in different corners of the theatre. Wow, just wow. When we thought we could predict what would happen next, the tables turned in the opposite direction. We were kept guessing, surprised and of course, always rooting for the protagonists. This is undoubtedly the perfect way, the genius that is J.K Rowling could have ever chosen to depict the ‘8th story’. So to sum it up: yes its worth the hype.
This will go down as a West End classic and I’d recommend ALL Potter fans to book your tickets to London now!
5 stars from me!
How to get Tickets
Now there are a few options
1. Buy directly off the official site
Visit the official website and access the seating chart. Go through the entire chart and find a seat! We managed to find 2 seats for £10 each on both nights. At this stage it is likely you will only be able to book for a show in about 9 months time.
2. Call the box office
Call Nimax Theatres directly on 0330 333 4813 during business hours especially if you are struggling to find seats online
3. Friday Forty
Every Friday at 1pm 40 lucky individuals will have the chance to buy a pair of tickets for £30 (during previews)/£40,(during normal season). All you have to do is hop onto the website at 1pm and 40 people will be randomly granted access to the purchase page. Obviously chances are slim given the thousands of people wanting a slice of the Potter Pie, but you know how the saying goes, ‘you’ve gotta be in it to win it.’
4. Wish list
Sign up to the official Wishlist which allows you to put in your preference of dates and if anyone returns their tickets for those dates, they may offer you the tickets with an extra 5% surcharge.
Click here for more details.
5. Third-party re-sell sites
If you’re willing to pay ANYTHING for the tickets and want to see it straight away. This may be your best option. Prices range from £80-£2000 and are sold by people who either can no longer make it or scalpers. Keep in mind that there tickets are SIGNIFICANTLY overpriced by up to 10-fold. There are plenty of scammers out there so be sure to use on legitimate sites. Here are a few well-known sites, however do your own research as I can not guarantee the safety of purchasing through such sites.
For those of you who can’t quite make it to London you can purchase the official Script Book online on the 31st July 2016 on Amazon for £9.99.
Good luck and enjoy the magic!
*Professional photos seen were taken from the official Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Facebook Page
Til next time
Ann & Jason xo