Please hold my pumpkin juice, I have an announcement.
The “Harry Potter play” – Harry Potter And The Cursed Child – is every single bit as good as they say.
I could end this article there, really. But for Potter fans, that wouldn’t be very satisfying. Because in the Potterverse, details matter.
A problem: I’m not allowed to tell you the details of The Cursed Child. No-one is. Because the whole production – in London, New York, San Fransisco and Melbourne – is shrouded in a veil of Hogwarts-esque secrecy.
From the program to the tickets to the reviews, in two hemispheres, the same three words are repeated over and over, like a… spell: Keep The Secrets. And there’s no question that walking into Melbourne’s Princess Theatre – impeccably refitted out as the inside of Hogwarts, complete with Hs in the carpet’s weave and gargoyles on the walls – filled with anticipation rather than spoilers only adds to what can only be described as magic.
Here's what you are allowed to know about the Cursed Child:
- The play is in two, two-and-a-half-hour parts, best seen back-to-back. You have to buy tickets to each part separately, and you could do for different days, but why would you?
- There's a gap between the parts long enough for you to duck 'round the corner to Chinatown for dumplings and regain your composure after a frankly, terrifying ending to Part One.
- No, it's not touring. The Princess Theatre in Melbourne is its home for the foreseeable. So if you're not there and you're waiting for it to come to you, I wouldn't hold my breath.
- There are a lot of people in the audience wearing scarves. This may be because they are in their Hogwarts' colours. Or, it may just be Melbourne. Unclear.
- This is an entirely new story, not written by JK Rowling, but crafted completely under her care by British playwright John Thorne and Director John Tiffany. It's still JK's baby, and her attention to the integrity of the Potterverse is all over it. But the fact it's been put together by masters of stage craft is also obvious.
- The Cursed Child is set 19 years after the final book finishes, and Harry and Ginny Weasley are married, and have three kids. Hermione and Ron are married, and they have a daughter, Rose.
- Hermione is the total boss at the Ministry For Magic (of course she is) and Harry works for her as the Head Of Magical Law Enforcement. They are harried, busy, 40-ish working parents.
- Harry and Ginny's middle child, Albus, is the troubled one. When the play starts, he's heading off to Hogwarts on the Hogwarts express, and his famous parents are turning heads down at platform nine and three-quarters. Albus - as even my daughter Matilda knew before we walked in - is about to get sorted into Slytherin, and that's where the plot takes off.