Despite being a huge Harry Potter fan, my initial reaction when I heard that J.K.Rowling was collaborating with John Tiffany and Jack Thorne to write a new Harry Potter play wasn’t excitement. I think I felt that the original series was enough and I was happy with how it ended, so I was worried that anything new would be a disappointment. However, once the previews for the stage production started and the word spread that it was an amazing spectacle, I felt I had to read the story. I did consider waiting until I’d seen the play on stage before reading the script, but as it would appear that I’m going to have to wait years to be lucky enough to get a ticket I decided to go ahead and read it!
I’ve read a few reviews of the script and I feel that many people forget the main purpose of a play which is to be performed, not read. That’s why many fans of Shakespeare say that his plays should be seen by school pupils before they are studied. Of course, reading plays can also be enjoyable, but the playwright isn’t writing for the script to be read, but performed. In the world of Harry Potter, where so many of the events depend on visual effects and scene changes, of course things are going to be missing when reading the script. I feel that the Cursed Child has been unfairly criticised in many ways because of this, but that doesn’t mean that I was completely satisfied with it either.
I liked the development of the original characters in general, particularly Harry’s struggle with being a father having not had a father himself when he was growing up. I was disappointed that Ron was reduced to just a comedy character though, and I felt sad that he was working in Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes (although I guess he wouldn’t necessarily want to work for the Ministry when his wife is the Minister for Magic…) I felt the writing let him down as a character. I did however love the friendship between Scorpius and Albus, and their bond due to living in the shadow of their famous parents. I also loved Scorpius’ humour.
I didn’t feel that the plot was particularly strong, with a lot of emphasis on time travel, however again this could be as it’s in the format of a play. The stage directions are very simple, but this would give an actor or director more freedom and I would imagine that these were developed and possibly adapted during rehearsals.
I wouldn’t say I felt disappointed exactly on finishing the play, but I think I felt that something was missing, which I believe is that I wasn’t reading the story in the form in which it was intended. I have no doubt that it must be an incredible production to see on stage, and I hope that I’m lucky enough to get a ticket one day.