On Saturday I spent nearly six hours in the Palace Theatre in London’s Soho, watching Parts One and Two of the Harry Potter play!
I didn’t think I would get a chance to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London, since tickets sold out immediately and StubHub didn’t seem a reliable option because they don’t issue tickets ahead of time (you need to present your confirmation email and ID to pick them up at the box office before the show) in order to cut down on resales.
But luck was on my side because about 3 weeks ago I was browsing the ticketing website (in a masochistic kind of way) and lo and behold, there were several dates in late March and early April that had single seats available. Perhaps they were cancellation tickets? I acted fast and snagged the one seat available on April 1st!
Even though I wasn’t able to go with a friend (my roommate bought a single seat for late June!) I decided it was worth it, since it would likely be my only chance to see the play in London. I have accumulated a few Harry Potter-related clothing items from Primark, which is like an even cheaper H&M (the shirt above was £6!) so I decided to dress the part, and I was definitely not the only one. About half of the people in the audience were wearing Harry Potter shirts or Hogwarts scarves…some were even wearing Hogwarts robes.
My seat had a partially restricted view because it was at the back of the orchestra level, and the balcony overhang above cut off the top part of the stage. Most of the time it wasn’t a problem and I had a great view of the stage, but when they used the higher part of the stage (standing on staircases, things flying, etc) then it was harder to see.
Still worth it.
I read the script of the play when it was released this summer, and I wasn’t that impressed by it. It read like fan fiction, and seemed overly dramatic at many points. However, I thought most of it worked really well onstage. I still wasn’t crazy about Harry’s character, and some of the overly dramatic moments were still overly dramatic, but for the most part a lot of the things that bothered me in the script held up pretty well with staging, special effects, and acting.
The actors were great – Hermione and Scorpius Malfoy (Draco’s son) stole the show! The special effects were also very impressive. A few of them were obvious as far as how they were done, but most of them were mind-boggling, and I had no idea how they’d pulled it off. Like when I’d read the script, I much preferred Part One to Part Two.
During one of the intermissions, I saw a famous actor milling around in the lobby: Jim Carter, who played Carson the butler on Downton Abbey! I didn’t want to bother him for a photo (unlike when I saw Emma Thompson) but was excited to see him, since I adore Downton Abbey.
Harry Potter and Downton Abbey? All the best of British pop culture under one roof!
If you get a chance to see the Harry Potter play in London (or in New York when it opens in 2018) you should definitely go. It’s really fun for Harry Potter fans, and even though the plot isn’t as good as the Harry Potter books, the special effects, staging, and acting definitely carry it. I would recommend seeing it in two consecutive nights if possible – I saw it in a matinee and evening format, and by the second half of the evening show I was tired of sitting. There was a break of about 2.5 hours between the parts, so I was able to walk around, get some fresh air, and get dinner. Luckily the play was very fast-moving; it never dragged on and my attention was captivated for the whole show.
I was so glad I got to check this off my London List – Harry Potter was a big part of my childhood, as was theater, so seeing the Harry Potter play onstage seemed like an unmissable opportunity during my year in London!
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