Although Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has been in previews in London's West End since June 7, press reviews of the play were embargoed until Tuesday, just days before the official opening Saturday. The play is currently sold out through May 2017, although 40 last-minute tickets are released each week at harrypottertheplay.com.
Here are excerpts from some of the first reviews.
Colette Bancroft, Times book editor
"As a character in The Cursed Child says, 'Playing with time — you know we can't do that.' But playing with time, both gleefully and earnestly, is exactly what this show's creators are doing. (The production's memorable images include the most dazzlingly disturbing clocks since the heyday of Salvador Dalí.) Its plot is built on a fantasy that most of us indulge from early childhood: What if we could rewrite our own histories?"
Ben Brantley, New York Times
"Any danger that the effects would upstage the actors is overcome by a set of strong performances. Anthony Boyle as a wonderfully quirky Scorpius and Sam Clemmett as the Oedipal Albus carry the bulk of the story and even hint at something stronger than friendship. Jamie Parker as the adult Harry is a suitably distraught figure haunted by the death-count he has caused and Noma Dumezweni, as an authoritative Hermione who is now Minister of Magic, and Paul Thornley, as a bluntly commonsensical Ron, suggest a couple bonded by love."
Michael Billington, the Guardian
“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has pulled off a transfiguration challenge worthy of Professor McGonagall: Converting the visually arresting world of Harry Potter into stage play. … Author J.K. Rowling, working with London theatre veterans Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, have delivered a production that's as spectacular as it is ambitious, stuffed with special effects and twists that had a preview audience gasping. Cursed Child is a story that doesn't play it safe with the Potter canon and will change how fans see certain favorite characters forever."
James Hibberd, Entertainment Weekly
"Past characters, of whom there are many, make appearances frequently, eliciting applause from the eager audience, while the next generation of Potters and Granger-Weasleys are a breath of fresh air to the series. As Scorpius Malfoy, the play's standout character, says toward the end of the production, 'I'm quivering with geekiness,' something almost everyone in the auditorium is undoubtedly doing. … When we reach part two, things become a lot darker; where part one was a jubilant ride through four years at Hogwarts, starting off at platform nine and three-quarters, the second part is an emotional rollercoaster that sees the story progress through what will no doubt be quite a controversial storyline."
Jack Shepherd, the Independent