Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, (may contain spoilers)

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Rating : 2.5 cookies

I was so excited about reading this play, since we no longer live in London, and can’t go and see it. Also, there’s something about reading plays that I enjoy. It must be because I’ve not worked as an actor for so long. Whatever the case, when I marched up to the till to pay for the two copies that we picked at our local bookshop, I had great expectations.

Of course I knew that the play wouldn’t be like the books. JK Rowling wasn’t involved in writing. She’d merely approved the story, which was of course based on that 19 years later epilogue. However as a Potterhead, I was more than willing to read this book in one sitting, devouring every stage direction and piece of dialogue.  308 pages? No, problem, I’ve read books slightly longer than that in half a day.

Then last night, I threw the book against the wall and gave myself a time out.

So let’s break this down… I’m trying not to spoil the play, but there are things that I have to mention. Please read at your own discretion.


The best thing of reading the play is being able to go back to Hogwarts, and the wonderfully built world of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter, and experiencing the life of those characters all grown up.

One of the things I liked the best was that Jack Thorne and John Tiffany don’t shy away from making the lives of the characters uncomfortable and straight down complicated. The relationships are given more than just a shake down, they’re thrown into tumult for the sake of the plot, and though at times it made me hate certain characters, the portrayal was on point with some relationships between parents and their children.

Revisiting the wonderfully built world of Harry Potter. Yes, I know this is the first thing on my Pro’s list. The problem with revisiting the world is that it’s not under the watchful eye of JK Rowling. Jack Thorne and John Tiffany wrote the play, and though I’m not going to complain about the length or anything like that, it’s missing Rowling’s magic touch. Perhaps my problem is with the format, and the constrictions of time and space imposed by it, the truth is that it wasn’t as much fun to read this as it was to read the previous seven books.

The dialogue at times was a bit confusing. I wonder for more than half of the book if we were getting mixed signals from one of the characters. I was convinced the way the dialogue was written, that two of the characters were totally in love and we would have a big reveal at the end of the play.  That never materialized. Instead the playwrights went with a more traditional route which I have to admit left me disappointed.

One of the key plot points seems to materialize out of thin air, without enough backstory to support it.
Ron Weasley’s character is reduced to just being comic relief, like in the first few movies, when we all know he was much more than the funny guy out of the three main characters.

The playwrights seem to conveniently forget about all the other Potter and Weasley children and they’re not mentioned but a few times at the very beginning and then poof.

There are brilliant moments, moments that will make you tear up. However, those moments are few and far between. Also they are moments which evoke strong feelings because we’re too familiar with them, as they were part of the story in the seven books.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has a strong foundation built by JK Rowling over the course of more than a decade. However, it falls flat when compared to the previous masterfully entwined stories. 

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