Theatre critics have responded enthusiastically to the first part of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which previewed at London’s Palace theatre last night (7th June).
The play is set 19 years after the seventh book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when the main characters Harry, Ron and Hermione are adults. Their children, including Harry’s middle son Albus Severus and Draco Malfoy’s son Scorpius, also feature amongst the cast.
The Mirror said “the extraordinary world [Rowling] brought to life in the best selling books and hit films is evident in every scene on stage too”.
The newspaper said the special effects “produce truly magical moments” and that the play will be enjoyed by both “super fans” and Potter novices. The cast, which include Jamie Parker, Noma Dumezweni and Paul Thornley, have the characters “down to a t”, it added.
The Telegraph was as equally enthusiastic in its review, saying “any fears that the world of Hogwarts on stage would struggle to compete with the multi-million dollar special effects of film were quickly kicked into touch”.
It praised the set, a “vast unchanging gothic arched hallway”, which served as locations such as King’s Cross Station, Hogwarts and the Ministry of magic, as well as the plot twists which caused “pantomime gasps from the audience”.
Meanwhile, the New York Times said: "The three main characters remained true to their younger selves... The audience cannot be more thrilled or more appreciative or more ready to be caught up in the spirit of the undertaking."
One small setback in the live performance reportedly involved a live owl flying around the auditorium after it failed to return to its handler.
Earlier this week J K Rowling asked fans to not spoil the plot of the play for people who have not seen it yet and theatre viewers yesterday were tight-lipped about what they saw.
One audience member told the BBC: “Tonight was absolutely amazing. It didn't feel like a preview at all."
The preview of the second part of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will take place tomorrow (9th June). The show officially opens 30th July.