I was lucky enough to get to see this fairly early on, as a friend-of-a-friend had to drop out, so I’d only read a few pages into the script (of course I bought the script), and decided to stop there in the hopes of remaining spoiler-free. This was lucky, because had I finished reading the script, there was no way I would have bothered trying to get tickets. The story-line in no way lives up to the standard of J.K.’s Harry Potter books, likely because it wasn’t written in entirety by her.
However, if you can look past the story and just ‘enjoy the theatrical experience’, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is astounding. As well as impressive illusions for some of the major magical moments – like taking polyjuice potion and entering The Ministry – amazing attention to detail was put into maintaining the aura of the magical world throughout the entire show. The extras / stage-hands were the true heroes to me, because of the effort put into ‘vanishing’ and ‘leviosa-ing’ props into place, ensuring the spell wasn’t even broken during set changes.
So, if you’re looking to get swept away into a magical world, then turn on those push-notifications and try to nab a ticket! But if you’re looking for story, save yourself the trip.
I will also give The Cursed Child credit in that I was in tears by the end – although that’s not hard to do, ask my enduring boyfriend. They handled the last scene incredibly well, with a level of emotional involvement I found lacking elsewhere in the play. However, without giving anything away (if you’ve avoided spoilers for this long, kudos!), it does handle content from the original series, so the emotions may also have been inferred from there.
In terms of logistics, we saw both parts in one day, which was a long day at the theatre, but I think breaking the halves across multiple days would have ruined it by pulling us out of the magical world they created. Plus, the main interval was at least long enough for us to get out and have some (oddly-timed) dinner and daylight.
We were also sat in the gods, which did mean that some of the stage-magic was quite badly affected. It was still impressive, but I can only dream of what it must have been like with all of the tricks and mechanics properly concealed. That being said, the tickets we had were £30 for pretty much a full day of theatre, and our seat position didn’t affect the experience as much as I’ve seen in other, more expensive, productions.
If you’re both a theatre- and Harry Potter-nerd (like me), this is worth seeing, especially if you can get hold of some of the cheaper tickets. However, leave expectations of J.K Rowling’s storytelling prowess at the door to avoid disappointment.