Any time that there’s new Harry Potter, I become about 15 years younger, and squeeeeeeeeeee. So, of course, new Potter, and I’m there.
Full disclosure, I work in theater. Large-scale theater. Big shows. This show is in my work realm. So reading new Potter, but in script form, it was hard to turn off my work brain. “Is that a quickchange?” “need more details about that prop” “are they going to eat that, or can it be glue?” etc. These are the notes that I didn’t take. I tried. I tried so hard to read it like it was just Harry Potter. But Rowling (and Thorne and Tiffany) screwed me in my brain place, and I just had to do the best I could.
It’s a delight.
It’s good for kids and grown-ups. It’s fan-fiction-y without going overboard. It’s a little fast and loose with time paradoxes, but forgiveable.
There are an alarming number of children in it, but… oh crap, that was my work brain again. There are a great number of children in it, but the grown-ups also get to shine.
I’m really trying hard not to spoil anything, because there are some lovely and magical (haha) discoveries along the way. Speaking of which, it is REALLY technically ambitious. And I have to say, kudos to Rowling for challenging the inventiveness and abilities of designers and technicians, because hot damn… I really want to dive deep into how a lot of the stuff is done in London.
There are very few descriptive stage directions, which cracked me up. As I said, I read a lot of scripts, and there are always, you know, character descriptions. Those don’t appear in this script, which is awesome… because we ALL KNOW what these people look like, physically and emotionally. We can fill in all those blanks as readers, because these characters have been in our lives so long! I loved that realization. And then, I had a moment part-way into Part Two (VAGUE SPOILER COMING), when Ron says “…if this lot are standing up here then so am I,” and all of a sudden, all of our favorite characters are standing in a row together in front of a group of people, and it gave me chills to imagine that happening live, 8 times a week, in a theater, in front of a crowd of 1000 people. Talk about frickin’ magic.
Now, something super important. At the end of the text, there is a (probably mostly-) complete list of the production personnel for the West End production: cast, creatives, crew, office peeps, etc. I scoured it. And I ask you this: why is no one talking about the fact that IMOGEN HEAP DESIGNED ORIGINAL MUSIC FOR THE PRODUCTION?! Get that in my ears post-haste, please and thank you.
And now, I leave you with this:
“Perfection is beyond the reach of humankind, beyond the reach of magic. In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison: the knowledge that pain will come again. Be honest to those you love, show your pain. To suffer is as human as to breathe.”
Thanks, Ms. Rowling. More please? (But only if you want to.)