After months of anticipation, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is officially opening this weekend!!
It's no secret that fans who got to catch an early preview of J.K. Rowling's two-part stage play had nothing but wonderful things to say — but did theater critics fall under the same spell?
It appears so! We're happy to report that the eight story in the Hogwarts saga is receiving riddikulus-ly positive reviews!
Photo: Emma Watson Meets New Hermione Noma Dumezweni!
The London production — which officially opens at the Palace Theatre on Saturday — is already being hailed as a "thrilling theatrical endeavor" that utilizes practical stage effects to engage the audience with whimsical spells that put them right inside Hogwarts!
Of course, every critic had his or her own minor issue — but across the board, the play was praised for its story, set design, cast performance, and just about anything else you can think of!
Ch-ch-check out our spoiler-free review roundup (below)!
Matt Trueman, Variety: "Rowling has found a neat way to revisit her original, allowing for both novelty and nostalgia. Without giving those secrets away, her plot has shades of fan-fiction to it, revealing the past anew and prodding at its possibilities. It's built for aficionados, of course, and while flashbacks and (clunky) exposition fill in the key plot points, you do need a knowledge of the world itself, from floo networks to Dementors' Kisses."
Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter: "Surprisingly, it turns out that the medium of theater is a better fit for the material than film, because in a theater 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 — perhaps not unlike the first stage audiences for Peter Pan."
Manuel Harlan, Entertainment Weekly: "The performances are probably the most work-in-progress aspect, and felt like they were still coming together … As Harry, [Jamie Parker] certainly looks the part and seems to have taken cues from Rowling's characterization and also Daniel Radcliffe's performance in the films. [Noma Dumezweni]'s Hermione captures her character's sternness but the script has sadly shed the fan favorite's infectious passion and curiosity (blame the passage of time?). Best of the trio is [Paul Thornley], whose dad-joke-ready Ron seems spot-on. The three are like a distant radio signal of character familiarity, drifting in an out, only sometimes seeming to channel their iconic past."
Michael Billington, The Guardian: "[Director John 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."
Mark Shenton, The Stage UK: "I saw both parts of the play in a single day – more than five hours of theatre – and the audience was one of the most attentive I have ever been in. The house was virtually full 10 minutes before curtain up and the sense of eagerness and expectation was palpable. At the end of each and every act, the audience roared their approval. But this is far more than just a show for the fans – it's a truly game-changing production and a thrilling theatrical endeavour in its own right."
Theo Bosanquet, TIME: "Cynics have suggested the decision to split the play into two parts rather than one smacks of commercial exploitation, echoing the way the final book was broken in two on screen. But Cursed Child could only be told over the five hours that splitting it into two allows. It's a fiendishly complex narrative, and moves at a lick; the first two years of Albus's time at Hogwarts are told in the first fifteen minutes. Considering each of the books covers the course of a single year, this marks a radical change of approach."
[Image via Pottermore.]
Tags: anglophilia, broadway babies, daniel radcliffe, harry potter, harry potter and the cursed child, j.k. rowling, london