June 1995, a young woman with a talent for writing had a dream of gifting the world with a magical story. Joanne Rowling was on a mission to get her first novel published. After being knocked back by twelve publishing houses, Bloomsbury took a chance and allowed Joanne Rowling’s dream to become a reality. While she was obviously proud of her work (and very rightly so), I don’t think she expected the worldwide phenomenon that it would incur.
26th June 1997, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published and the franchise was born.
In 2001, the Philosopher’s Stone, readers imaginations were brought to life as the book was transformed from paper to the big screen. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson embraced the roles of Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger – now, the world’s most famous trio.
No one could even begin to imagine the fandom that these books and films created. Hardcore Harry Potter fans from all over the world (including myself) formed – you could say we were our very own version of Dumbledore’s Army!
My friend Joan and I are die-hard fans, to say the very least. Harry Potter was a key part in what made us the best of friends we are today. Together we used to attend the premieres in Leicester Square, the opening night for every new released film, pre-order the books (and read them through the night, who really cares if you’re not functioning for school?) and cried at the very end of each one. We’ve both been to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Leavesdon Studios – TWICE! Unashamedly we are booking our third trip so we can experience Hogwarts in the snow.
In 2013, talks of a play based on the infamous story were circulating. I have to admit, I wasn’t best pleased with this idea. Mainly because for most fans, including myself, when Deathly Hallows Part 2 was released it was hard enough to say our final goodbye to a franchise that had become such a huge part of our lives. So many fond memories had been made and shared based around this story, it was sad to come to an end. The whole ’19 years later’ aspect of it was slightly worrying to me – would the idea work? What could be done? Voldemort was dead, his Death Eaters had fallen, the Ministry of Magic had triumphed, surely that was it? By the time it had been confirmed, obviously I had come around to the idea and was absolutely buzzing for it.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was official and I couldn’t wait. Joan and I bought these tickets months ago; after what felt like a century of waiting, Thursday 18th August had finally arrived. We were seeing Part 1!!
I can’t possibly give anything away as the audience are highly encouraged to #KeepTheSecrets of the story. Why? Put it this way, I would have been devastated to know what was going to happen. The element of surprise is what keeps the magic alive. The story itself is very smart and flawlessly performed by all of the cast. What’s brilliant for the fans is that it is obvious the actors researched their characters in depth. There were so many similarities between Daniel Radcliffe’s portrayal of Harry in the films to how Jamie Parker plays Harry, who is now 19 years older – mainly the way in which he delivers his lines. It’s hard to describe but if you see it, you’ll know exactly what I mean. Another stand out performance came from Noma Dumezweni who played our loveable goody-goody and braniac, Hermione Granger. Noma has taken Hermione’s characteristics and nailed them down to the very last detail. This lady exudes fantastic presence and completely owns the stage in each scene she is in. Paul Thornley makes for a brilliantly funny Ron. Much like Rupert Grint, Paul has perfect comedic timing with the deepest of sincerity in his delivery. A joy each time he graces the stage. Of course, we can’t be forgetting the two stars of the show – Harry’s youngest son, Albus Severus Potter, played by Sam Clemmett and the son of Harry’s nemesis Draco Malfoy, Scorpius Malfoy, played by Anthony Boyle. Both characters are completely different to how I would’ve thought them to be judging by their fathers. Exceptional acting with pure dedication made sure that these two characters were the stars of the show. Both were outstanding. As for the set and props? Well, they’re simply magical.
While the play is intended for the audience to watch both parts on consecutive nights, Joan and I have to wait until October to see the conclusion to this brilliant story. A long way off but definitely something to look forward to!
Unfortunately, tickets are now sold out until 2017. However, there’s such a thing called the Friday Forty – every Friday at 1pm a limited amount of tickets are sold for great seats at great prices for both parts, be ready!!
If you’re lucky enough to watch this show, you’re going to love it. Absolutely love it. If you haven’t yet got your tickets, make it your life ambition. It’s gripping, spellbinding, imaginative and a theatrical masterpiece.
SSH! Remember to #KeepTheSecrets
If only I had a time turner to relive it all over again…