Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
READ THE REVIEWS:
April 22, 2018
Time is a dangerous toy in “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” the enthralling two-part play about the later life of its title wizard. Various characters in this deluxe London import, which opened on Sunday night at the Lyric Theater, find it in their power to journey into the past, which means altering the future, which means serious trouble for everyone.
In that regard, these stumbling adventure-seekers must be regarded as lesser magicians than their creators, who include J.K. Rowling, the writer of the prodigiously popular Harry Potter fantasy novels, and the poetic director John Tiffany (“Black Watch,” “The Glass Menagerie”). This inspired team bends time to its will with an imagination and discipline that leave room for nary a glitch, making five hours of performance pass in a wizardly wink of an eye.
Featuring a script by Jack Thorne — from an original story by Ms. Rowling, Mr. Thorne and Mr. Tiffany — “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” also gives vibrant, decades-traversing life to those wistful “what if” speculations about the past that occupy both grown-ups and children. It’s a process that involves folding stories into stories into stories, collapsing years into minutes and making dreams feel eternal, and more vivid than reality.READ THE REVIEW
April 22, 2018
Back when it was first announced, plenty of observers rolled their eyes in skepticism at the idea of a play that would continue J.K. Rowling’s globally popular wizardry saga, a series of books that singlehandedly turned entire generations on to the joys of reading imaginative fiction. But anyone still ready to dismiss Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as a cynical brand extension, or a theme-park ride on stage, clearly hasn’t experienced the thrilling theatricality, the pulse-pounding storytelling vitality and the unexpected emotional richness of this unmissable two-part production. The ecstatic hype that accompanies the smash London import to Broadway is amply justified, and then some. Playwright Jack Thorne, director John Tiffany and his indispensable movement collaborator Steven Hoggett achieve the near impossible: They mount a persuasive case that this story we all know from novels and/or movies only now has found its nonpareil medium. The two plays have a combined running time of almost five-and-a-half suspenseful hours. And when you get a load of the illusions pulled off right before your eyes — mostly with old-fashioned sleight-of-hand and crafty lighting; only occasionally with more elaborate techno-trickery — it’s not hyperbole to call the show sheer magic.READ THE REVIEW
April 22, 2018
Like any magic worth an incantation, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, opening on Broadway at the Lyric Theater tonight, depends on unspoiled illusions, a delight in life’s wonders and the skills to present it all as if no one had ever even considered its combinations before, much less pulled them off. I won’t spoil any illusions – the production itself handles the rest. Cursed Child is a marvel, a shape-shifting play that effortlessly incorporates music and choreographed movement, classic storytelling and fresh perspectives, a look that incorporates World War II-era Britain and Victorian spiritualism with Hollywood’s latest flash. In a Broadway season of award-worthy revivals, this tale of whatever happened to The Boy Who Lived feels bracingly, piercingly new. A year after sweeping Britain’s Olivier Awards, this two-part, five-hour adventure into the Potter universe and the bonds and breaks of family and friendship arrives on Broadway with all its enchantments intact, melding intricate, spellbinding storytelling with stagecraft that brings classic illusions into line with the demands of audiences used to all sorts of convincing special effects and digital hocus pocus. Cursed Child is as much about – to quote a character from Angels in America some blocks away – the magic of theater as it is a gift to the legions who grew up (or grew old) reading and watching the Potter books and movies.READ THE REVIEW
April 22, 2018
For almost a decade, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series lay dormant, a completed masterwork — there would be no further tale in the saga of the courageous wizard. Rowling ended her series in 2007 with finality, not the least of which because the coda to the superior Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows established a definitive canon with three key words: “Nineteen years later.” Rowling took Potter from 18-year-old conquerer of evil to 37-year-old father of three, a satisfying, happy, limitless ending for the maturation of the boy who lived, and that was fine. All was well. Then along comes Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a play written by Jack Thorne based on a story by Thorne, director John Tiffany, and Rowling. It bears a loaded billing — “the eighth Harry Potter story” — and its very unlikely and unparalleled existence shook a fandom, sent ripples through three industries, and confirmed a hope for a population of fans: this story is not over yet. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a theatrical marvel, for so many reasons. It’s the biggest franchise title to ever come to Broadway, continuing in New York the momentum of an exorbitantly successful home run in London’s West End. It’s the most expensive non-musical play ever produced on Broadway. It’s a five-hour beast of a show, in a 1,600-seat beast of a theater, with a 40-person beast of a cast by a creative team that includes the most famous living author of our time. Fantastic beasts, there are a lot. The play, which opened Sunday at Broadway’s newly-renovated Lyric Theatre, is so massive, it’s best to examine it as two lofty halves: Parsed as a text, Cursed Child is a theme-park whirligig that dizzyingly checks all the boxes you’d expect to see of a show that bears the famous Potter name; parsed as a production, it’s a technical achievement that redefines the possibilities of theatre. Strong performances and touching themes make it a worthy play, but magical showstoppers, in lieu of musical numbers, transfigure it into something else entirely.READ THE REVIEW
April 22, 2018
This is no time for bogus expressions of sophistication. So, let’s just say: Hooray! With “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” the Boy Who Lived has finally come to Broadway, bringing enchantment to a world that could really use a little magic right now. The show’s savvy producers have done a wonderful job refurbishing the vintage Lyric Theater (circa 1903), both inside and out. The sculpture of a giant black raven’s wing hangs over the theater marquee, and the iconic image of a boy crouched in a winged nest can be seen perched on the roof. They should also have spread new pavement out front, because there’s going to be a lot of foot traffic on 43rd Street over the next few years. Inside, the walls are painted “raven plume,” while a midnight-blue carpet is emblazoned with the Hogwarts crest. How about ravens? You want ravens? Just look up. Ravens! (And how about buying stuff? You want to buy stuff? Check out the lobby.)READ THE REVIEW