Harry Potter stage play conjures up magical response from critics


New stage show Harry Potter And The Cursed Child has left critics spellbound.

The epic lasts more than five hours - across two theatre visits - and opens officially at the Palace Theatre, London, on Saturday.

Harry Potter And The Cursed Child/Manuel Harlan
Harry Potter And The Cursed Child (Manuel Harlan)

A follow-up to author JK Rowling's Harry Potter novels, the play follows the boy wizard's life 19 years after the events of the final book in the sequence, The Deathly Hallows.

The Daily Telegraph gave the show five stars, calling it "a triumph" and saying that "it grips, it stirs, it delights".

Theatre critic Dominic Cavendish praised the "thrill-a-minute nature of the stage-craft".

He added: "The big news is that this is just what was needed, will raise the benchmark for family entertainment for years to come and may even usher in a whole cycle of Potter-world stories."

(Harry Potter and the Cursed Child/Manuel Harlan)
The stage show has received rave reviews (Manuel Harlan)

Variety's Matt Trueman called the show "quite simply, spellbinding".

He added: "It's total theatre. And, yep, it's magic."

Harry Potter And The Cursed Child was "no mere rehash, but a whole new chapter"...

"Twenty years ago, Harry Potter turned a generation on to reading. The Cursed Child could do the same for theatre."

Ann Treneman wrote in The Times that the show was "Dickens, with magic" and "a raunchless Game Of Thrones with heart".

She added: "Crucially, it's authentic Potter but, most importantly, it's new. It's not the movie of the book. It's the real deal, live in front of you, so much better than any film could be."

Author JK Rowling (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)
Author JK Rowling (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

Time's Theo Bosanquet wrote "this is a story that feels made for the stage".

He added: "Yes, it's packed with effects as characters cast spells, fly and even transform, achieved through old school stagecraft rather than digital trickery," but there were "moments of intimate drama".

The Independent's Jack Shepherd said that while "past characters... make appearances frequently, eliciting applause from the eager audience... the next generation of Potters and Granger-Weasleys are a breath of fresh air to the series".

The Guardian's Michael Billington said director John Tiffany "has masterminded a thrilling spectacle" and that together with his designer Christine Jones, "created magic out of the simplest ingredients".

But The Daily Mail's Quentin Letts wrote that the play could have been shortened.

Harry Potter And The Cursed Child/Manuel Harlan
The story is set two decades after the final Harry Potter book (Manuel Harlan)

While "Potter addicts will love it... there were moments I could have done with a glug of gurdyroot infusion to keep me alert", he said.

The Sun's Emma Brankin wrote that the show was "bewitching" and "a tremendous experience", but "when you strip away the spectacle and the humour, what's left is a plot that is a little cumbersome".

And she added that the new villain "lacks the spine-chilling menace of evil Voldemort".