With tickets for The Cursed Child sold out until December 2017, I had to get my hands on the script that could potentially change my life. By that I mean surely there’d be a Hogwarts acceptance letter sitting in the play for me, or perhaps I was just about to immerse myself back into my favourite universe of all time: The Potterverse.
The play picks up at the exact moment The Deathly Hallows left off: nineteen years later. Word for word you find yourself transported back in time to 2007 when Albus Severus stole our hearts; if only for being named after two of the most loved characters in the fandom. Albus isn’t the Potter we may have imagined, he is sorted into Slytherin, he can’t summon up his broomstick, and for a best friend he chose a Malfoy. Albus is seemingly plagued by the legendary status of his father, and here we see the cliché ‘you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family’ playing out.
Albus chooses Scorpius over his cousin Rose from the moment he sits in his carriage on the Hogwarts Express. Perhaps the more important relationship explored is that between Father and Son. Scorpius is plagued with rumours that his father is actually Voldemort, not Draco Malfoy. But the Worst Dad of the Year award really has to go to Harry for this line: “there are times I wish you weren’t my son” – come on, Harry, you were an orphan who had to live under some stairs for 11 years and now you’re complaining because your son’s a bit difficult? – insert dramatic Hermione eye roll here. This is where the play gets tricky; who wants to read a story in the Potter franchise where they end up disliking Harry? The play somewhat tarnishes Harry’s character until the very end, and even with the ending you think he could be a bit better at parenting considering he’s supposed to have three children.
The play most certainly tried to get the most notable aspects of the seven books condensed in to one. The focal point of the story itself concerns Cedric Diggory’s death and a confiscated time-turner, with Albus and Scorpius deciding they would right one of Harry’s biggest wrongs. Clearly the butterfly effect hasn’t seeped its way in to the Wizarding World and, with only 5 minutes before the time turner transports them back to the present, every tiny change the boys make takes them back to an alternate present. My favourite is a present where Voldemort won the war, not because of Voldemort, but because Snape is posing as a bad guy once again and all your brain will shout to you over the dialogue is: “AFTER ALL THIS TIME?” … “ALWAYS”.
With nostalgia put to one side, The Cursed Child is not the eighth story because if it was it would centre on Harry far more. Sure his character as an adult is everything we’ve ever disliked about our parents in one hit, but you’ll soon be seeing the similarities between Albus and the Harry Potter we all read about years ago: not turning up to Hogwarts on time, stubbornness, and an unwillingness to ditch your best friends. Like everything that has the word ‘Potter’ attached to it, it is magical, it is exasperating, it has a massive plot twist that will make you flip pages quicker than Hermione during her O.W.L.s and it has the ability to convince me to sit on my laptop for five hours just to get tickets to the play in November 2017. So if that doesn’t tell you how worth reading this play is, then you’re probably a muggle… or even worse: a squib.