WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHERE: Palace Theatre
WHEN: 9/5/18, booking to 7/4/19
We count ourselves as lucky to have been invited to see this double bill and attribute that to our ATG membership.
- Read on for reasons including why this is a feast for the eyes rather than the brain
Look out for our annual update of the value-for-money of a variety of theatre memberships on 1/9/18 for more detail of how that works but, having queued unsuccessfully via the internet for two ticket releases for this double-header, we think that must have been the reason for our joy.
We’re probably not the average visitor to this show as we’ve read all the books, barely seen any of the films and go to the theatre a lot.
We’re big fans of original leads Jamie Parker and Noma Dumezweni and are sad not to have seen them before this show won 9 Oliviers, opened on Broadway (with its West End cast) and received 10 Tony nominations (winners revealed 10/6).
We’re going to abide by author J.K. Rowling’s plea to reviewers to #KeepTheSecrets and the truth is that there is a lot of plot in this. It’s essentially the story of a grown-up Harry and his relationship with his tortured adolescent son Albus (Theo Ancient’s is the stand-out performance in this West End production).
Playwright Jack Thorne collaborated with Rowling and has done better work including Channel 4’s Kiri this year and his heart-charring adaptation of A Christmas Carol which was so good it returns to the Old Vic for the next festive season.
It is director John Tiffany’s work (we last saw his Glass Menagerie at the Duke Of York’s) who constantly raises the bar with a string of visual feats and trickery the likes of which we have never seen in the theatre before – and wonder whether we are ever likely to do again.
We suspect however that the angst on display is best empathised with if one is either a struggling parent or frustrated millennial and, if not, it’s more difficult to care.
At two hours and 40 minutes (Part 1) and two hours and 35 minutes (Part 2, both including intervals) we certainly didn’t feel as though we were missing out on value for money.
However, it is a feast for the eyes rather than a banquet for the brain and one which we can’t imagine someone new to the world of Hogwarts finding much to cherish within.