Theatre News

Review Round-Up: did Harry Potter and the Cursed Child cast its spell over critics?

The reviews are finally out. See what critics made of ”Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”

Sarah Crompton, WhatsOnStage


"This may be the surest commercial proposition for years, but it is also a spectacle of epic sweep and magisterial grandeur. It is, quite simply, magic."

"The script, by Thorne, is both sharp and masterfully structured, holding its shape over a narrative arc that lasts through two plays of more than five and a half hours in total. Using a time travel device that both JB Priestley and Steven Moffat would be proud of, it shows how small actions can have huge consequences"

"In so grand a display, it would have been easy to neglect the performances. Yet they are uniformly good and occasionally outstanding."

Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph


"It’s a triumph. Not an unqualified one – there are some quibbles – but in all key respects, it grips, it stirs, it delights."

"That’s partly down to the thrill-a-minute nature of the stage-craft, which kicks off the moment the Hogwarts pupils simulate the famous leap-of-faith charge from "muggle" King’s Cross on to magical Platform 9 ¾, changing from everyday gear into school uniforms in the blink of an eye – how on earth do they do that?"

"If you can’t erase memories of Emma Watson or Rupert Grint, that’s nothing to do with the finesse of Noma Dumezweni, giving us an older, calmer Hermione, and Paul Thornley, whose Ron is still genial, ginger and possessed of a gargantuan appetite."

Michael Billington, The Guardian


"I’ve read one of the seven Potter books and seen a couple of the eight films, and enjoyed them without becoming an addict. At times during the day, I felt as if I had wandered into Henry VI Part II without having seen the preceding plays."

"What struck me was how Thorne, like Rowling, knits together a series of mythical strands. There is the quest motif, which is as old as Arthurian legend. There is the idea of time travel, which has been a standard part of sci-fi from HG Wells to Doctor Who."

"Any danger that the effects would upstage the actors is overcome by a set of strong performances. Anthony Boyle as a wonderfully quirky Scorpius and Sam Clemmett as the Oedipal Albus carry the bulk of the story and even hint at something stronger than friendship."

Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out


" Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is an absolute hoot, a joyous, big-hearted, ludicrously incident-packed and magic-heavy romp that has to stand as one of the most unrelentingly entertaining things to hit the West End."

"There’s also a sense that this story of wizards and witches is being treated with the respect its now substantially grown-up fanbase craves… Jamie Parker and Alex Price are superb as battered, damaged, middle-aged versions of old enemies Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy."

"‘The Cursed Child’ packs a lot in, but it’s basically a time-travel caper revolving around teenage misfits Albus and Scorpius, miserable at Hogwarts, stealing an experimental Time-Turner (a magical time-travelling device) from Harry… It’s also somewhat episodic, occasionally having the air of an old adventure serial"

Jack Shepherd, The Independent


"Past characters, of whom there are many, make appearances frequently, eliciting applause from the eager audience, while the next generation of Potters and Granger-Weasleys are a breath of fresh air to the series. "

"When we reach part two, things become a lot darker; where part one was a jubilant ride through four years at Hogwarts, starting off at platform nine and three-quarters, the second part is an emotional rollercoaster that sees the story progress through what will no doubt be quite a controversial storyline."

"For many, this version of Harry – whose fathering skills are rather awful and whose arrogance is at times unflattering – will be jarring to fans at first. He’s not perfect, and that’s what makes him so great; this turbulent father/son relationship is entirely captivating and particularly emotional towards the end."

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child runs at the Palace Theatre until May 2017.

Click here for our Harry Potter and the Cursed Child guide