Despite receiving an A++ review from the artist formerly known as Hermione Granger at the beginning of the month and one rave review from Star Wars' Mark Hamill, the silence surrounding Harry Potter and The Cursed Child was tantalizing to say the least; would the stage production keep the magic alive? And could it live up to the high expectations of Potterheads around the globe?
Well folks, after two lengthy months, the preview period is over, the critic consensus is in and you might want to book your tickets to London immediately because it's a resounding YES from basically everyone who's seen it so far!
So, if you've been unable to get your mitts on tickets for the two-part production — which only a few lucky souls have been able to do, they're notoriously impossible to get ahold of — you might want to avert your eyes now for fear that simmering pot of jealousy within you might runneth over. Thankfully though, everyone has respected J.K. Rowling's wishes and kept their reviews (for the most part) totally spoiler free!
Here are some of the top spellbinding reviews across the board:
Journalist Michael Billington relied heavily on the expertise of his 11-year-old Grandson to piece together some trickier parts of the play's narrative, yet still left overwhelmed by the overall performance:
"I got as much pleasure from the staging as from the convoluted story. Tiffany and his designer, Christine Jones, have created magic out of the simplest ingredients. The set is dominated by Victorian gothic arches, more reminiscent of St Pancras than King’s Cross, and by the brilliant use of suitcases and portable stairways. An exciting escape on top of a moving train is evoked through a line of luggage and the estrangement of Albus and Scorpius is suggested by flights of steps that move as nimbly as Fred Astaire. Harrison’s magic, Katrina Lindsay’s costumes and Neil Austin’s lighting achieve triumphant fulfilment in the creation of the Dementors, dark forces who suck the souls out of humans and who float through the air like wraiths."
"Any danger that the effects would upstage the actors is overcome by a set of strong performances."
NY Times' Ben Brantley went as far as to allude that the play is more suited to J.K. Rowling's voice than the movies!
"This production captures Ms. Rowling’s sensibility even more persuasively than did the special-effects-driven films. True, the movies were blessed with an unmatchable stable of idiosyncratic British character actors like Alan Rickman and Maggie Smith and, as Voldemort, Ralph Fiennes (now safely ensconced across town at the Almeida Theater, embodying another avatar of evil, Richard III). But in “The Cursed Child,” everyone onstage has direct, present-tense responsibility for the story being told. And most of them play many parts."
James Hibberd of EW praised the production value, before penning an intriguing parting message:
“Author J.K. Rowling, working with London theatre veterans Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, have delivered a production that’s as spectacular as it is ambitious, stuffed with special effects and twists that had a preview audience gasping, ‘Cursed Child’ is a story that doesn’t play it safe with the Potter canon and will change how fans see certain favorite characters forever.”
Kate Maltby's words were music to the ears of all childhood Potter fans, heartily patting the skill of the cast and creators:
"A nostalgic reverie for the Potter generation, devoid of Ms Rowling’s sharpest metaphysical logic … Yet thanks to the presence of some of Britain’s most talented theatre makers, including Mr Tiffany, and a bevy of heartfelt performances, the latest addition to the Potter canon makes a surprising case for the restorative power of theatre … we sometimes feel we’re at a theme park ride rather than an artistic performance. But strip away the smoke and mirrors and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is, like all Ms Rowling’s narratives, a soul-salving celebration of friendship and loyalty."
It was all nostalgic and dreamy for Variety's Matt Trueman who enthused over the storytelling, staging and magical atmosphere:
"It is, quite simply, spellbinding: The Show That Lived Up to Expectations – and Then Some … A captivating story given a spectacular staging and – Rowling’s specialty – a big, big heart. Twenty years ago, Harry Potter turned a generation on to reading. The Cursed Child could do the same for theatre. Its secret is simple: Rowling’s fantastical world is realised not with high-tech wizardry, but through the rough magic of theatre. Broomsticks hop into their owners’ hands. Wands spit green jets of fire, blasting wizards 10 feet into the air. Bodies vanish, balloon and transfigure. Ears shoot steam. Objects levitate … Beneath the surface, Cursed Child is absolutely contemporary. It shows a generation that has known only peace and certainty on the cusp of chaos; its villain isn’t an overlord with an army at hand, but a lone terrorist acting in and out of isolation."
Similarly to the New York Times review, Leslie Felperin too believed the play was more suited to J.K. Rowling's work:
"Surprisingly, it turns out that the medium of theatre is a better fit for the material than film, because in a theatre magic tricks really look, well, magical … when this production uses a simple lighting trick to suggest a ripple in the fabric of time, or makes someone disappear in a phone box (almost literally the oldest magic trick in the book), these dusty theatrical sleights actually draw gasps and applause from the audience."
The reviews continue in such fashion, receiving 5 stars from The Telegraph, 4.75 stars from the Times, 5 from the Evening Standard, 5 from the Independent, and so on.
And it's not just the critics who loved The Cursed Child either, die-hard Potter fans who managed to bag tickets have been flocking to Twitter to sing their praise, too:
All in all, any worries you might have had about the play Avada Kedavra-ing the hell out of your childhood seem to be unfounded! And although the play is sold out for months, you too can be part of the action for the script will be available to purchase internationally come Sunday July, 31. Pre Order your copy here.
Are you going to see Harry Potter and The Cursed Child?