The first thing you should bear in mind when waiting fourteen months to see a play, is that spoilers lurk in the shallow waters of the internet, and there’s probably nothing you can do to stop them coming out. That’s the first way in which this production was so ingenious – #keepthesecrets was so important to fans and to the production team, that you would be letting everyone down by leaking anything. Which kind of makes a review difficult to write.
By being terrified of seeing spoilers, I caved and bought the book approximately 36 hours after it came out.
Do you remember that feeling? Being so excited by the Harry Potter book release that you’d stay up until midnight, collect it, then not be prised apart from it until you’d finished it? Yeah, me too. No other book series has grabbed me like that, and I’ll be surprised if one ever does again. It’s part of the magic of the fandom, I guess.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t perfect. To be honest, I felt like the script was elaborate fanfiction – an instalment anyone with an in-depth knowledge of Potter could have written. Heck, even 14-year-old me wrote a similar version (ha, had to edit that out because I put my own dirty great spoiler in). I enjoyed it, but felt a little disappointed, and was wary that the tickets we’d bought nearly a year earlier might have just been a little…well…not worth it. I’ll even admit that I felt JK was boarding the gravy train a little, bearing in mind how expensive the tickets were to then release the script anyway.
How wrong could I be. Despite the snow (yes, the only day it’s snowed in London in what feels like EVER) we were super excited as we queued to get in. That was a rookie error – it was bloody cold and we could have just waited until the doors were open.
We had great seats – front row of the Grand Circle, except, tiny tip here, when they say “limited legroom” they mean that your 6ft 5 boyfriend won’t be able to sit down – so we swapped with fans behind us, which meant a slightly restricted view, but at least we were comfortable. (side note, I’m also claustrophobic and hate being trapped in, so it did me a favour that we moved too).
From approximately thirty seconds in, I was hooked. There are so many special effects that mean you don’t know how they do it. The spells, potions, memories and dreams (no, really, it’s so hard not to put spoilers in) – the only word to describe it is magical. I spent so long looking for trapdoors and hidden wires that you just can’t see – I can’t imagine how expensive a production it is, but it is worth every penny you spend on the tickets.
The Dementors make an appearance – oh come on, that’s not even a proper spoiler – and are creepier than you could ever imagine. I wonder if they purposefully turned the air con up, or if every member of the audience was shivering of their own accord, but those bastards are terrifying.
But overall, it’s insane what we can see on stage, how the mind, lighting and slight of hand can trick you into believing. I think it might be the best thing I’ve ever seen on stage – and I’ve seen a lot.
If you get the chance, get tickets – it was a once in a lifetime experience.