April 6-7, 2024
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child needs to be seen to be believed. From the moment you step into Melbourne’s Princess Theatre, it’s a truly magical and immersive experience; the carpets are covered in Hogwarts’ crest, dragon lamps hang on the walls and the ushers are donning various house colours. Even before the lights dim it’s a Potterhead’s dream.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child picks up right where the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows left off, with Harry and Ginny dropping off their youngest son, Albus Severus Potter, at Platform 9 ¾. On the train, Albus befriends Scorpius Malfoy, who is, of course, the son of Draco Malfoy and Astoria Greengrass, and the pair become inseparable. And that’s all you get from us in terms of plot (#KeepTheSecrets).
When the playscript was initially released back in 2017, a lot of diehard fans had mixed feelings about various plot points, but the story translates impeccably well to the stage.
In 2015, J.K. Rowling tweeted about the “T” in Voldemort’s name being silent, and that is how it is pronounced in the production. It’s a little weird hearing the name said differently to what you might be used to, but it’s not something that’s unforgivable in this play.
Visually, this production is phenomenal. One of the things that made the Harry Potter novels such a phenomenon was they allowed readers’ minds to run wild, and the special effects brought that to life on film; something that was always going to be a huge task in a live format, but this production delivers. Floo powder, simple charms, Polyjuice potion and more all make an appearance, while the sets themselves are stunning and constantly changing – there’s even a set of stairs that frequently moves to simulate the moving staircases at Hogwarts.
The best performance comes from William McKenna, who portrays Scorpius Malfoy. From the first time he opens his mouth, you can’t help but be drawn into his character. He is awkward, nerdy, will make you laugh, and by the end of the play has everyone on side. Every moment that Scorpius is on stage is a genuine delight. Another notable mention must go to Sean Rees-Wemyss, who portrays Albus Potter. Both actors brilliantly portray sons who just want to be accepted by their fathers and they bounce off each other so well.
It’s these troubled father and son relationships that drive the story and truly pull on the heartstrings to match the emotional depth offered by the original novels. If you’re a Potterhead, you need to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It’s a gorgeous stage production with a compelling story that invites you into the Harry Potter world.
Lead image: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Princess Theatre. Image by Julie Kiriacoudis