After what felt like a million years of waiting, I finally got to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway! I was lucky enough to see it during its opening week in NYC and while I was luke-warm about the story when I first read it in the summer of 2016, this production absolutely blew me away. This review is not spoiler free of the story but I won’t ruin any of the tricks of the production.
To summarize the plot, the two-part play (which consumes nearly six hours of your life in one day if you’re like me and see it all in one go) follows Harry Potter and crew’s children as they begin their lives at Hogwarts and follows them through their fourth year. The main characters are Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy, both sorted into Slytherin and both outcasts at Hogwarts who really rely on each other. They become best friends, despite their father’s harsh relationship, and the first three years pass quickly. Harry and Albus’s relationship is strained, Harry is hard at work at the Ministry, Hermione is the Minister of Magic, and all is great because Voldemort is dead. Right? Well, things start getting dark again and when Albus and Scorpius team up with a young woman named Delphine to go back in time (time turner!) to try and save Cedric Diggory, things get out of hands. It’s a big production of the Butterfly Effect, but it gets a bit darker than you might expect when some of your favorite Hogwarts characters (Snape! Dumbledore!) return, but so does Delores Umbridge and Lord Voldemort. It takes the whole team (including Draco!) to find Albus and Scorpius when they get lost in time and save the world from Voldemort and his daughter who will do anything to make her father proud.
I know a lot of people bitch and moan about this story, saying it’s basically fanfiction or ruins the characters or whatever, but since it’s sanctioned by JK Rowling, I think they can shut the heck up. But plot aside, this production was AMAZING. STUNNING. I CRIED. I literally cried. The way they do the magic, and how much magic there is, is outstanding. There is a reason this is the most expensive Broadway play ever. It’s so worth it though. The care they took with this show is astounding. My favorite “special effect” was during the use of the time turner, and luckily it happens a lot. There’s also use of water on stage that’s kind of exciting and the way they transition when they use the Polyjuice potion is expertly done for such a difficult idea. The use of shadows and darkness in this production is done well and makes it really enjoyable, even from row N of the orchestra. I can only imagine how cool it felt to be in the balcony when things were flying around!
On the note of the cast, I was absolutely blown away by the kid playing Scorpius and absolutely in love with him by the end. No one was bad, obviously, but Scorpius was outstanding. The woman who played McGonagall felt the most “like” the movie production, but the characters of Snape and Dumbledore and Umbridge were getting there. It was weird to see Harry and Hermione and Ron look so different than they did in the movie, but I think the actress who played Hermione (there was a huge, stupid controversy over her being black) was great and had an extremely commanding presence on stage. She made much more sense as the Minister of Magic than a grown-up version of Emma Watson Hermione did, in my opinion. The woman who played Moaning Myrtle was also AMAZING. So funny and yes, playing off what we see in the movies, but also exciting and new in many ways. So flirtatious. I loved it. I wasn’t THAT impressed with the actress playing Delphine, but maybe that’s just because the role feels a little heavy-handed at times. Her “dark” scenes were just…a lot. But the actress was really fun in the more light-hearted scenes.
Overall, this was an AMAZING all-day experience that you should definitely see if you get the chance. Yes, tickets are a little expensive, but it is so worth it. If you love Harry Potter, this play will absolutely transport you back into Hogwarts. I literally started crying at the beginning because it felt so good to be back. Let’s be honest…I’m probably going to go see it again. I can’t stop raving about it.