“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. 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 J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John 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.
Part of the generation-crossing appeal of J.K. Rowling’s novels lies in her ability to give operatic grandeur to the most universal and pedestrian hopes and fears—feelings harbored by anguished adolescents of all ages—by placing them in a wildly fantastical context. And this show more than honors that dichotomy.
This production knows exactly how, and how hard, to push the tenderest spots of most people’s emotional makeups. By that I mean the ever-fraught relationships between parents and children, connections that persist, often unresolved, beyond death. If you give yourself over to this show’s hypnotic powers, you’ll find everything that happens onstage seems as improbably fluid as, well, time itself.”
“The Cursed Child is not only heaven for Potterheads, it’s a marvel of stagecraft that will soon be the stuff of legend. Director John Tiffany and illusionist Jamie Harrison lift the show with visions of pure enchantment that send shivers down your spine when they’re not breaking your heart.
The story – dark, dazzling and more soulful than anything on screen – picks up where the final book (Deathly Hallows) left off, with Harry and wife Ginny shipping off teenaged Albus to Hogwarts from the magical Platform 9 3⁄4 at King’s Cross station.
Eyes will pop and jaws will drop at the theatrical wizardry. But it’s the play’s emotions that wallop you with the tender magic of simple human connection. The Cursed Child will inspire wonder in theatergoers and Potterheads alike. It seizes the stage by divine right. Like it belongs there. Like it doesn’t want to leave.”
“Of the many remarkable aspects of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, one of the strongest is the show’s disarming ability to evoke a previously untapped level of emotionality for Potter fans. Thorne’s script unlocks new points of view, particularly in the show’s climax, that are wholly unique to this play, unable to be replicated no matter how countless one’s consumption of the books or movies.
And with every magic trick — a phrase that feels reductive and yet, is precisely accurate for the dozens of casual illusions that populate the stage — the crowd bears witness to something spectacular, something that dares you to challenge your expectations of what’s possible to be done in the theatre. The sets are minimal but extravagant, a strange combination that shows a mark of artistry from designer Christine Jones, with game-changing lighting from Neil Austin (not as much for aesthetic but sheer function) and well-utilized, restrained video by Finn Ross and Ash Woodward. If cleverness got Harry, Ron, and Hermione out of many a dire situation, Cursed Child carries well the Potter mantle of the importance of practical brilliance.
Live and luxuriate in this electric moment for Broadway, where there is real magic to do, real rarified air to breathe in the majestic Lyric Theatre, where an unprecedented extension of a beloved world is making something so impossible feel so much realer than it ever could be. It’s an experience as singular, extraordinary, and unforgettable as, say, seeing a boy with a lightning-shaped scar.”
“What are the real secrets of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? No, they’re not the plot points and revelations that the producers exhort the audience to keep secret, understandably trying to extend one of the great delights of this show, which is to watch diverse peoples from all over the world around you squirm and cry out with pleasurable surprise as they hear the answers to questions lingering from their youth, back when they still read books with flashlights under the covers. Back before phones killed so much familial feeling. Nor do those secrets involve the plethora of theatrical tricks within a show filled with Jamie Harrison’s magic, which (remarkably) manages to be both extraordinary and old-fashioned theatrical fun.
The real secrets are of the heart. They explain everything about why the Potter phenomenon is so intense, long-lasting and, incredibly for these times, still capable of rising above all the usual divisions of race, gender, class and economic circumstance. Rowling’s advice, this show’s advice, on how to be a parent and how to be a kid, which, weirdly enough, involves most of the same stuff: ‘Be honest to those you love. Show them your pain. To suffer is as human as to breathe.’
All the things that make Cursed Child so theatrically remarkable are only intensified now. The list begins with how Tiffany, Hoggett and the designer Christine Jones carved out a theatrical playing space for the storytelling, something that interacts with what you have in your head and does not compete with the images of the movies. That is, when the characters stare out at the intimidating sight of Hogwarts, all Tiffany and his lighting designer, Neil Austin, choose to do is turn on the houselights.
At that moment, you see Hogwarts inside your mind and you’re struck by the great beauty of both the theater and the people inside, all thinking and feeling as one about the power and limits of love.”
“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child goes well beyond mere spectacle — although those hoping for dazzling feats of magic will hardly be disappointed. Written by Jack Thorne and based on a story concocted by J.K. Rowling, Thorne and John Tiffany, who also directs, the play is a thrilling maze of adventures, yes, but it is also a moving and sophisticated exploration of the turbulent tides of adolescence (wizardly or otherwise) and the conflicts that arise between even the most loving sons and fathers (wizardly or otherwise).
Potter-philes are the play’s natural audience, but even Potter-phobes could be seduced by both the tale itself and the production’s technical brilliance. Tiffany, with the aid of movement director Steven Hoggett, ushers us through the story with an almost awe-inspiring fluidity. The production’s five-hour-plus expanse (in two parts) flashes by in what seems like half the time. We emerge having experienced something that Muggles encounter all too rarely: truly transporting theatrical magic.”
THIS DAZZLING EPIC MAKES A TRIUMPHAL ENTRY ONTO BROADWAY! Under John Tiffany’s shoot-for-the-moon direction, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is exuberantly, flabbergastingly, playbill-shreddingly theatrical, with you-won’t-believe-your-eyes stunners.”