In late June, I went to see the eighth ever preview performance of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts 1 and 2. This was after a lot of stress and waiting in an online queue of 20,000 people to secure tickets – any tickets – and my sister managed to pull it off. It was an amazing few nights at the theatre, and now I can’t wait to share my experience with you.
Don’t worry. I got two free badges that say I have to #KeepTheSecrets, and I definitely will. You won’t be finding any key plot points here, but I will share my overall impressions (I’ll also warn you before saying anything other than ‘it was amazing’).
Wands at the ready, and let’s go.
First off, our tickets said that we should get to the theatre an hour before the play started at 7:30pm, which meant I had to rush over from work. In hindsight, this was definitely over cautious. The queue to go through security did wrap around the entire building, but we were inside the theatre with well over 30 minutes until the curtain rose. This did give us ample time to peruse the merch options, which included the tote bag that I picked up. I’m now in love with it. Why didn’t I replace my handbag with a tote sooner?!
The other great reason to arrive early is to soak up the atmosphere. With every seat sold at our performance to people who were sat in an online queue for hours, only the die-hard Potter fans were present. Everyone was so excited and passionate about J.K. Rowling’s world, and the air was buzzing as a result. Most people seemed like they couldn’t believe it was really happening. I came across a lot more Americans than I expected, and all had planned their trip across the Atlantic just for this piece of theatre. The dedication was intense.
Our seats were at the back of the Stalls. In fact, we were on the back row of the left hand side, just in front of the lighting booth. There were about three more rows further back on the right hand side, though. The best thing about sitting here was that we could kindly ask for booster seats at the cloakroom. My sister had a very tall man sitting in front of her, but with the extra cushion we both had amazing views of the stage. Obviously we wouldn’t have done this if we were sitting elsewhere as we would have blocked the view of people sitting behind us, so this was a definite bonus of being at the back.
I personally thought it was best to see the two parts on separate days. We had a lot of fun speculating about future plot points, pulling apart the story so far, and generally getting time to process it between the time we left the theatre on Tuesday evening at 10pm to when we went back to see the second part on Wednesday at 7pm. I haven’t tried it for myself, but I imagine seeing both parts in one day would be completely overwhelming. We definitely didn’t want the experience to end, and at least this way we go to stretch it out over 27 hours.
Without revealing anything about the actual play, here are my overall impressions. If you don’t want to know anything at all, I suggest skipping to the end! There was a lot more magic than I thought, the characters were simply perfect, I fell in love with characters in a different way to in the books, and fell in love with new ones as well. There were a lot more laughs than I expected – including gags that made us properly roll around in our seats – and lots of real jaw-dropping moments.
Ultimately, I had no idea what to expect from this experience. But I can truely say that it was better than I imagined.
If you’re going to see it, I’m very jealous. I’ll be entering the Friday Forty to go again from now until forever!
Are you going to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child soon? Or have you seen it already? Let me know in the comments.