Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre
Since viewing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Lyric Theatre last summer, I've kept the promise to keep the secrets of the eighth installment in the life of the titular boy wizard. But after seeing it in its original home in London, it was a reminder of how spell-binding, dazzling, and heartwarming the play can be.
Sitting in the theater waiting for the play to begin is like a little slice of magic in and of itself. Even several years into its run, the audience is still filled with many who love the stories that J.K. Rowling has written and respond accordingly. From the gasps as smoke comes out of a boy's ears to the bookshelves that have a mind of their own, the world on stage is as immersive as could be. The audience reactions however are also to plot twists as identities are revealed and character's relationships shift. The overwhelming reaction is a visceral one, that ranges from cheers and applause to gasps of shock as the audience sits together, taking in everything the play has to offer.
As a true "event" of theater, it's fair to wonder how it will make the super fans of the Harry Potter series feel, considering it was co-created by Jack Thorne, J.K. Rowling, and John Tiffany. Yet, in some ways, that is not a problem. Everything that the fans know and love from the books and films remains intact in the perfect manner.
The show is led by a fantastic cast, who offer their own interpretations of characters that have become both iconic in their own right and beloved by millions of people all over the world. Their performances prove that your don't have to have created a role to make it your own and give a performance that is memorable and impactful. The choices they make for their characters and the visible bond that this cast shares only elevates the material to a higher level.
There is something very special about seeing the show in London. It fits so perfectly in the beautiful Palace Theatre, right at home behind the gorgeous facade that looks out upon Shaftesbury Avenue. As much as Harry Potter is a part of the fabric of British literature's long history, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is an important part of the history of English theatre, stretching the boundaries of what is possible to achieve on stage and allowing us all to give in to the wonder that lives inside our imaginations.