Yesterday it was announced that everyone's favourite fictional wizard was set to come out of fictional retirement for one more crack of the wand. As revealed by JK Rowling's Twitter feed, new story 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' is set to be not a book, but a play, and will be hitting the West End next summer. The feeling among Time Out's theatre team is that press night can't come soon enough, and here's why.
It’s an all-new adventureWe’ve known for yonks that there was going to be a Harry Potter stage show, but details were extremely scarce, and the worry was that it’d just be a naff romp through ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’. But no: ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ is an all-new JK Rowling story that’s rumoured to deal with the adventures of Harry’s parents before their deaths – though Rowling has stated it’s not a prequel, so, er, who knows. Rowling has dipped her toes back in Harry’s world via her Pottermore website, but ‘The Cursed Child’ seems like the only thing that could legitimately be called an official eighth Potter story.
The team making it is amazingRemember how ‘The Prisoner of Azkaban’ was loads better that the other Potter films because Alfonso Cuaron made it? Hopefully we can expect similarly spooky vibes from ‘The Cursed Child’. It’s directed by John Tiffany and written by Jack Thorne, who made the sublime stage adaptation of ‘Let the Right One In’. Expect dreamy visuals, plenty of stage magic, and more than a splash of darkness.
It’s not a musicalJust to make this absolutely clear in case there was any ambiguity: in a day and age when every film that was even remotely successful gets turned into a bloody musical, ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ will be that rarest of things: a major play that opens direct onto the West End, with absolutely no bloody singing involved whatsoever.
It’s going to be a hit whether you like it or notEven if Tiffany ballses up and ‘The Cursed Child’ gets a critical mauling, and even if only 0.01 percent of the 44 million people who bought the last Potter book attempt to book tickets, it’ll still be one of the biggest hits the West End has ever seen. And actually, that’s not a terrible thing: Theatreland has struggled to find a megahit since ‘The Book of Mormon’, and far better the hit is a showcase for some of our finest theatre makers than some sort of cheese-fest.
It’ll probably be quite shortThe seventh Harry Potter book, ‘The Deathly Hallows’, was longer than some encyclopaedia volumes, and had to be made into two long films. You can’t pull that shit in commercial theatre, JK: it’ll be two to three hours, including an interval, bish bash bosh.
‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ opens at the Palace Theatre in summer 2016. Tickets will go on sale this autumn.
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