HARRY POTTER AND
THE CURSED CHILD
Parts One and Two (plays)
CONTAINS SMOKE, STROBE LIGHTING, LOUD AND PYROTECHNIC EFFECTS.
Harry Potter left Hogwarts
nineteen years ago. Married with three children and a job at the
Ministry of Magic, his life is pretty full. Meanwhile, son Albus is
dealing with the problem of having such a famous family...
Split into two parts, this sequel
by Jack Thorne continues the famous stories of J.K. Rowling.
IT IS ADVISED THAT AUDIENCES DO
NEED TO SEE THE PLAYS IN ORDER, for the story to make sense. The monkey
strongly agrees with this.
is the official website.
Read the Monkey's own July 2016 "Harry Potter Experience" on it's blog:
IMPORTANT: ALLOW TIME BEFORE EACH SHOW TO CLEAR "SECURITY" OUTSIDE THE
VENUE. Join the line, which feeds to the right of the theatre as you
look at it, down Romilly Street and back around into Greek Street. The
monkey found it took around 10 minutes to get from the middle of Greek
Street to the front of the line, arriving 45 minutes before the show,
and instantly walked in for the second half arriving 20 minutes before
the show, in July 2016.
"BRINGING FOOD INTO THE THEATRE:" The monkey is informed that "security
staff have been asked to confiscate certain food items on entry to the
theatre." If you have a genuine need (as the monkey did) to bring a
particular type of packed meal with you (to eat between the shows, away
from the theatre, of course) then monkey advice is to contact them as
far in advance as possible, via cursedchildaccess (at symbol)
Nimaxtheatres.com. There is a procedure in place which they will work
with you on. Allow at least 7 days for a reply from them. Please note, this is for specific dietary / religious needs
only, and is not a general system for sneaking your own snacks past
security. Please do not abuse it, as it would make things difficult for
those with genuine needs.
A thought for those seeing the "two performance" weekend shows: For
those travelling too far to go home, but not far enough to get a hotel
room overnight, why not book a “day room” for that period. Somewhere to
rest, freshen up between shows, etc. See
www.dayuse.co.uk for ideas. The
monkey used The Academy Hotel,
Gower Street. 15 fast minutes walk from the theatre.
"SOLD OUT TICKETS"
Returned and any other "late release" tickets will be sold
online, by phone and to
personal callers on the day of performance at the Palace Theatre box
office. Check the show's Facebook, twitter and website for details. A
reader in October 2016 says she was told that restricted view front
stalls are often the first ones returned.
PLEASE DO NOT BUY FROM "SECONDARY TICKET SOURCES." YOU RUN
A REAL RISK OF PAYING £££££ AND NOT BEING ALLOWED IN TO SEE THE SHOW, AS
THE PRODUCERS EMPLOY SKILLED AURORS TO CANCEL EVERY RE-SOLD TICKET THEY
FIND - AND THEY ARE VERY GOOD AT IT...
ONE READER'S SEAT BOOKING EXPERIENCE IN AUGUST 2016:
"I never found the official seat pricing plan, so was working from one
found online (on a notoriously useless site, the monkey notes) which
though saying it was specifically for Harry Potter (in hindsight for the
previous release I guess) was not only wrong but also very misleading,
because not only the prices but also the banding had changed. Not having
seen the official plan I took a guess at which prices referred to which
section (not knowing the bands were also wrong at the time) and got it
wrong. This was because on the ATG site where my daughter was nearest
the front of the queue you had to enter the price you wished to pay and
only available seats at that price were then shown. Having planned to
pay £45 from that misleading online guide I took a guess I would need to
pay £55 to avoid the balcony when I saw the pricing had changed, not
realising that this severely limited my choice of seats. We were only
offered limited legroom ones which I had to decline, being six feet
We gave up disappointed, but I thought there was no harm staying in the
Nimax queue where I was further back. Eventually ATG were sold out so it
seemed pointless...but I had nothing to lose by staying in the queue,
just out of interest, if not desperation given my daughter's obvious
disappointment! (In fact I had gone to buy the book for her to try to
make up for it!)
So I was amazed to find there were still seats available when several
hours later I got to the front of the Nimax queue. But to start with, it
was only disappointment again, as it seemed there were only single
(although Nimax didn't make this clear, only confusingly failing to let
you add seats to the basket) or limited legroom seats available at the
£55 price band.
So what does one do? Budgets are tight and the seats expensive enough as
it is; but what else can you do when you have been knocked back and
stood in a queue for hours, with no further hope of getting back there
ever again! I did what any father would do, and took one stab at seats
at a higher price... £65. Bingo!
It was only afterwards when I eventually found a full pricing plan that
I realised why my original choices had all failed - because there were
so few £55 seats, and mainly limited leg room ones, to start with! And
this is where the Nimax site, despite being so much slower, was much
better. I mention it because you referred to not being able to choose
your seat. That was true, but at least Nimax showed you what might be
available (although it would have been better to ask you the number of
seats first) in all the bands and theatre sections helping you to make a
much more informed choice than ATG. Of course, the wider choice and
option to view all of the alternatives may have been why Nimax was so
much slower though.
So that's how I ended up spending £80 more than I had planned, when I
thought I would be able to buy tickets for (what to me anyway is) a
pricey £45 each. I am very pleased with the seats though, although I
have just noticed a theatremonkey comment warning anyone over 5' 10", I
THINK in relation to ALL the seats in the theatre? And another site says
seats get tighter the higher you go, in a section on the grand circle -
but I'm not sure if they are saying grand circle seats generally have
less legroom than dress circle ones, or legroom reduces as you move up
within just the grand circle itself! (legroom varies by
row - editor).
Anyway, I'm reassured in the knowledge I can sit next to the aisle (
unless someone tall sits in front of my daughter!) and even (I believe)
stand at the back for a stretch if necessary!
By the way I checked on Facebook and my experience of queuing times
for ATG vis-a-vis Nimax was mirrored by other customers, and I believe
people were still getting tickets from Nimax into the evening, although
others were also confused like me when you could not proceed to the next
step having selected seats that showed as available - presumably because
too many had been selected - but this was not explained)."
TWO EXCELLENT TIPS ON BOOKING IN GENERAL:
1) Sales are split between ATG and Nimax. ATG tends to sell out first.
2) Payment cards are charged slightly after a booking is made, once the fuss
dies down, so that the authorisation systems are not overloaded. The good news
is that some sales are declined... so, a day, two days or three days later,
tickets appear again for re-sale. If you didn't get in on the day, try back
again 24 hours later, you could well stroll in and have a hassle free pick of
some very good stuff indeed.
(Seen at the preview performance on 10th July 2016).
Some actors have now left the cast.
The monkey will #keepthesecrets (as the badge they hand you on the way out
reminds you to do – the # is important as younger folk don’t read anything not
starting with one, apparently) so you won’t find a single detail about the plot
or effects in this review, you may read on with confidence.
Make no mistake, this is another addition to the Harry Potter story. Just
because it is in script rather than manuscript form doesn’t mean that it differs
in any way. It still contains the same magical moments, impressive set pieces,
all your favourite characters (they should put a ‘spotters’ guide’ list to tick
off in the programme)... and also all of the flaws. The erratic pacing, short
and irrelevant material, the long wind-down after the action. All here and
easily recognised by regular readers.
Simply, if you like “Harry Potter” enough to have finished, and remember the
contents of, every single book and / or film – then you will know enough to
follow this pair of plays. If you’ve never read / seen one, look elsewhere for
your theatrical entertainment, as you will be in for a very long day indeed. By
the end of the second half of the second play (yes, it’s that long) a “Doctor
Who” level of conversation emerges that either you will speak or not. If not,
you could regret the previous hours.
It’s also VITAL that you see the shows in the correct order. Don’t do
Some of this duo really is extremely nifty – rising to grand on occasion;
but, particularly in the first play, some of the magic can seem either crude or
plain dull – the “table-hopping close-up magician” that you wish would take his
simple tricks elsewhere so you can get on with your meal.
It’s a pretty long set-up, the first half of the first play, too. For the
monkey, Part Two, Act 1 was the exciting zenith, from around 30 minutes in. The
rest swings from compelling to pedestrian, the pace matching Rowling’s usual
writing style, it feels.
At first the monkey thought some of the cast were simply not working very
hard, then it was highly embarrassed to realise that they were – but that even
the best actors were being confined by how established their characters are in
their audiences’ minds. Esther Smith stood out, with Sandy McDade, Anthony Boyle
and Paul Thornley also making the very most of their characters (no names, to #keepthesecrets).
In short, for regular theatregoers, this show breaks no new ground. “The
Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night Time” attempts similar work, far more
stylishly, and there really isn’t anything to see that hasn’t been done on a
stage before. In fact one moment had the monkey almost saying out loud “gone for
a slash.” It wondered whether it was the last bit they rehearsed.
For newcomers to the theatre, though, this is a decent introduction to what
can be done on a stage. The craft is here, and Potter fans should get the
pleasure they expect.
A very decent attempt, is the monkey verdict, with the second play more
involving than the first.