Left – Gareth-Reeves. Cover – The Cast. Photos – Matt Murphy
Arguably one of the most popular and fiercely loved franchises of all time, JK Rowling’s creation of the wizarding world of Hogwarts and beloved characters of Harry, Ron and Hermione continue to delight children and adults with books, films, studio tours and a real life Platform 9 ¾ at London’s Kings Cross.
If I’ve lost you at Platform 9 ¾, then perhaps Rowling’s latest piece in the Harry Potter universe, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is not for you. Set 19 years after the final battle of the series (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), a prior knowledge of the Potter-verse is essential to fully embrace the many throwbacks, winks and in jokes scattered throughout the play.
However, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a stand alone piece, based on a story by Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany and written by Jack Thorne, the trio of wand wielding, world-saving witches and wizards are all grown up with children of their own. Harry (Gareth Reeves) is an overworked minister, still burdened by his notoriety, his famous name making life difficult for his now teenage children, in particular Albus (Sean Rees-Wemyss), who’s fear of not living up to expectations becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Befriending perhaps the most unlikely of students, Albus becomes firm friends with Scorpius Malfoy (William McKenna), the son of Draco Malfoy (Harry’s nemesis at Hogwarts). And so begins a star-crossed friendship played beautifully by Rees-Wemyss and McKenna. Plot-wise, that’s about all I’m at liberty to say, as audiences are sworn to secrecy and spoilers are very much frowned upon.
What I can say is that the stagecraft is beyond astounding. Somehow John Tiffany (who directed the original production) and Jamie Harrison, in charge of Illusions and Magic, have managed to create a world on stage that rivals those seen on screen. Along with Steven Hogget’s choreography, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a delightful spectacle. There are brilliant performances throughout the production with McKenna and Gillian Cosgriff as standouts.
Gyton Grantley is excellent as comedic relief throughout the more tense moments of the play and Paula Arundell is perfect as the smart, sassy Hermione.
Presented in two parts and over 5 hours, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is somewhat of a marathon experience for audiences, but for those die-hard Potter fans, more is simply never enough. Melbourne is lucky enough to be one of the few cities to host this record-breaking play, and the fully decked out Princess Theatre enriches the experience.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a beautifully executed, and visually stunning production that captures the essence of Rowling’s fantastical world, charming old fans and most-likely gaining some new “Potterheads” in the process.
Sonia Friedman, Colin Callender, Harry Potter Theatrical Productions and Michael Cassel present
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two
written by Jack Thorne | based on a story by Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany
Director John Tiffany
Venue: Princess Theatre | Spring Street, Melbourne VIC
Dates: from 16th January 2019