I was one of those lucky people who managed to get tickets in the first release and on August 10th I got to witness this story on stage in the Palace Theatre in London. Having gone into the theatre having not read the script (I have since) I was full of apprehension and excitement over what is the next chapter in the franchise. What follows is my thoughts of the play as a story – with who were my stand out cast members – and for its production value without spoilers.
I understand the apprehension faced by those who have only read the script. It is two dimensional, it lacks the world building and setting that we have come to know in the previous seven instalments (and films) in the story of Harry. This comes with the territory of a script, we have basic stage directions and the spoken words (some of which have changed in the play) we don’t get to read the depth and the magic that comes from the production of the play.
In terms of stage props, there was few big pieces. In a play where the scenes are constantly changing it is important to make use of the stage and set a scene with as little as possible. This leads to some creative uses of multiple props, lighting and music – and it works. There is forced darkness, which allows for people to hide and appear – or not appear – when necessary. We are able so see the scene that is set, and from there it is down to our actors who will make us feel the scene, the emotion that exudes and the swiftness needed to allow the magic that is on the stage to come to the fore and enchant an audience (and oh boy did it).
My stand out performances come from Anthony Boyle, Noma Dumezweni and Jamie Parker. Anthony plays Scorpious Malfoy and he is insecure, loyal and with great comedic timing. Watching him was like seeing someone who has fully immersed themselves into the role. He didn’t over act he was Scorpious and you know i’m glad to have enjoyed seeing him on stage as much as I did. Noma was for many a contentious pick for Hermione Granger yet I loved the authority she exuded, the sure confidence and the unquestionable love for Ron that she was able to portray. As you watch her act you see Hermione there is no question who she is on stage and that, that is what makes her a stand out. As for Jamie Parker as Harry we get to see a Harry who is burdened, who is continually struggling to be the best father, employee and who is still battling the demons in his past. Jamie brings this depth to Harry as if he understands the struggles that we are presented with, Harry is not just the boy who lived, he is now the man who lives with the regrets of his past. I really enjoyed his portrayal, it felt special, you were able to empathise with the decisions he has to make and you are also able to be angry at him for being stupid.
Special mention goes to Annabel Baldwin who is the perfect Moaning Myrtle. She is honestly all you could ever want in Myrtle.
There was only one performance I had a slight issue with, and that was from Esther Smith. This is very minor nit-picking from me as instead of being the character is often felt like she was presenting to the audience when she spoke, never mind speaking to the characters on stage. But really I am being pedantic.
This play is so much more than the script, and with several magical editions it keeps the audience entertained, gasping and crying. The feelings were real, the characters deep and diverse. The theatre has totally been decked out for the play and the results are stunning and captures the imagination of the audience. I truly did love this play and the story is well told and the acting is superb. If you can get tickets for the play, please do not hesitate as it does take you on a real journey.