Major excitement today… It’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child day, finally. It’s been a long time coming. It’s been many months since I registered, waited patiently for the chance to be in the ticket ballot, less patiently for ticket release, then blind panic following the announcement that despite taking months to get that far, the opportunity to buy tickets would be awarded in random order from a set “live” time. Oh the tension! And then I had to be lucky enough to be early enough in the random queue to be able to select tickets either at the start or end of our trip.
Still though, I didn’t earn my catch phrase of “failure is not an option” without reason. Preserve I did, and a crippling ticket cost (thanks exchange rate) later…here we are, at last, about to see the first part of the two part play.
It’s playing at the Palace Theatre in the West End, an area we’re not familiar with. The plan is to go early in the day, to collect tickets and complete a reconnoiter and hit Chinatown nearby for a yum cha. A very complex train ride later, we’re there. Trains are still out with flooding and the journey is long and slow – I’m sure we could have walked it quicker…and yes, Google confirms it. But still! Harry awaits. And on the way we see three wild bunnies in Hyde Park. Bunnies! In the middle of London!
The theatre is magnificent a Gothic classic and it’s been dressed with the play’s livery complete with the cursed child in a twig snitch with wings. I skip to the ticket counter and hold my breath until the tickets are in hand. Chris has strict instructions to guard them with his life.
He on the other hand, being more a fan of lunch, skips to Chinatown. If there was any justice in the world, the man would weigh 100kg. He’s always hungry, always eating. Google serves us well again. I look up “London’s best yum cha” and we are spoilt for choice with the top 10 all in walking distance. Chinatown serves up a treat – we select the New World restaurant, touted as having the closest to a Hong Kong yum cha experience. It proves an excellent choice with all the favourite dim sum and a few new treats for good measure including a wild mushroom dumpling…yum.
Chris’s stomach sated, we head out to the British Museum for a dose of culture. New plan: stay for the afternoon enjoying the musuem, go straight to the play. Good plan. We immerse ourselves in the Egyptian period. It’s an excellent collection includes the Rosetta stone and artefacts dating back 4,000 years. Ancient bliss.
That good plan, sadly though, is scuttered. Part way through the museum I realise I’ve left my glasses at home (curse my long distance vision) and there’s no seeing the play without them. Back through the train trauma we go.
Luckily Google saves the day again, locating a better route back…right into a gin house next to the theatre. I spend a happy hour in G&T land with some very fancy gin then it’s a quick security check and we’re in!
The audience’s excitement is palpable, after all, we’ve waited a long time. There are young and old, even a few in capes, but we’re all in absolute focus. Lift that curtain!
Now what can I say without ruining it for everyone? It’s a good story arc. The key characters have matured the way they should have. The enormity of what they went through weighs on them with the gift of adult introspection. There are new characters who you grow to love very quickly, old ones who challenge your thinking and excellent special effects. The magic is well executed and very believable, the special effects, excellent. The players are well cast and give it their all. There are two who steal every scene. It’s delivered in classic JK Rowling fashion with equal balance of humour, drama, horror and courage. It’s steeped in friendship and the power of love. There are shades of the old story intertwined in the new. There are dementors, and they’re breathtaking, pun intended. The end of part one is a cliffhanger.
I can’t wait for Part 2.