Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

reviews the latest instalment in the wizarding franchise – is the magic still there or are the fans merely sustaining it?

★★☆☆☆

Venue: The Palace Theatre, London

A review consisting of the much loved world of Harry Potter is difficult to write about without the saturation of passion, whether it be with displeasure or exhilaration. However, in order to profess an opinion of an unbiased nature, both my attachment to the Potter Universe and disappointment with subsequently released information must be placed on a tightly held leash.

The newly released play was not the masterpiece people were expecting, especially when considering the fact that J.K. Rowling herself co-wrote the play alongside Jack Thorne, an esteemed screenwriter in theatre. While it is possible to separate the writing from the stunning special effects – the realistic performances of enchantments by the well choreographed actors had audiences of all ages gasping with delight – the storyline was still far too ludicrous and only to be taken in with a grain of salt.

Rowling’s play follows the strain adult life has had on the now husband and father Harry Potter, as well as the pressure on Albus to be an ideal son to a man recognised by all as simply the saviour of the Wizarding World. A summary full of sentiment brought sound promises of a detailed plot along with well thought out characters, however, it seemed as if the fundamental aim of the writers was to evoke a sense nostalgia rooted in the book series. The random spawning of another supervillain, and the return of the previously destroyed time turners only so it was possible to revisit characters and places of the past seemed ridiculous to the point of which little made sense to the structure other than to drive the story forward. This hasn’t been the only instance which has stirred controversy among fans, from remarks on making Dumbledore’s homosexuality more explicit to the lack of non-white prominent characters in the books.

While it is easy to become caught in an endless tirade listing lacking qualities of an aspect of the franchise the author has created, who is to say that any opinion, whether it be of the author’s, the words in this review, or even those that gave the Potter play a standing ovation is the correct one?

As any work of literature is written, then bought by a consumer, it is entirely at the disposal of the user’s imagination. As with the Harry Potter series, despite the story’s completion, fans have chosen to expand the canon by creating their own stories and art, much like the way Rowling has done with Cursed Child – and in return even adopted the fan theory of Hermione’s ethnicity in the play.

Even though this review of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child is largely a negative one, ultimately an audience’s opinion cannot be placed in binaries. Rather, it is best to consider what the magic of the Potter World has allowed us to create, whether it be fan stories, a new play, an opinionated review; conversation.

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