It took a while to finally take our seats for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child thanks to the covid-crazy, but us London for Kidz muggles were pretty impressed with this page to stage epic two-part, theatrical adventure. Here's our review on a West End show that definitely needs to be on your 'things to do in London with kids' radar...
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: What's it all about?
A must for any and all Harry Potter fans, this theatrical extension of J.K. Rowling's wizarding world has Harry's youngest son, the impressively named Albus Severus Potter, trying (and largely failing) to cope with the weight of his family's legacy. Of course he is at Hogwarts, but without giving away any spoilers, things are not quite so easy on the friend front for Albus as they were for his famous father. Meanwhile, Harry is working flat out as the Minster of Magic and seems to never really have time to listen to those who are trying to be heard.
What we loved about it
We waited two years to see the show after we originally booked and had to rearrange several times because of the pandemic but, we've got to say, it was totally worth the wait. We caught it as a family of three - Mum, Mr. 19 and Miss. 14 - and given how hard it is to entertain teens, this really was a total winner of a day out.
Two of us had read the book and one went in without knowing a thing about it, yet we all enjoyed it equally. The cast were faultless, the scene changes magical, and the special effects were impressive. It goes without saying that when you're watching the movie versions of Harry Potter you expect all the magic and special effects, but we had no idea how that would translate to a live stage version, but we were pretty blown away.
What we also weren't expecting was the humour: there are some intense moments in the play but there are also wonderfully uplifting scenes that are relatable (even though we're muggles and not remotely wizardy) and, well, just plain ol' heart-warming. As parents we totally understand how the grown ups are feeling, and the kids will utterly relate to the teenager members of cast.
We adored that there were plenty of familiar characters - Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Myrtle, to name but a few - which helped transport us immediately into the wizarding world we've all come to love over the years, but the addition of new characters, new plots and a whole new generation of Hogwarts was fabulously done.
In a nutshell, whether you're a huge fan, a kinda fan or not a fan at all of Harry Potter et al, this is a phenomenally well put together West End show that packs a fantastic theatrical punch. We loved every single minute of it (and there are a LOT of minutes - 315 of them to be precise) and for us the stand out moments included the dementor scenes, the relationship development between Harry and Albus and all the impressive magic (some of it has left us quite baffled, to the point that we think perhaps the actors really were wizards).
Should we see both parts in one day?
Honestly? If you have the time then absolutely yes. We all said at the end of the first show - which ended on quite the spooktacular cliff hanger - that we would have been mightily cheesed off had we opted to see the second half another time. Yes, it's an epic day, but there is plenty of time between the afternoon show and the evening show to go and stretch your legs, grab some dinner, and pat yourselves on the back for having booked to see the second part the same day.
What age would you recommend it for?
In parts it is fairly dark and there are some quite scary scenes and a fair bit of angst (teenage boy versus his dad... you know the drill), so we would say it would be suitable for children age around 10-years and older. You also need to factor in the fact that it is llllonnnnnggg so if you have fidget pants in the family probably best to skip until they're older. If you are worried it might not be suitable for your children then do read the book with them first. The show is incredibly true to the tome so you can get some feel for how your kids react to it before booking the tix.
All the deets
Where: Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 5AY (nearest Underground Station Tottenham Court Road or Leicester Square)
Cost: From £15 per person per show when booking through Official London Theatre.
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