book reviews by Althea

** Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is not a Harry Potter sequel.

It is a commentary on Harry Potter. It’s an exploration of the idea that, “Hey? You know what wouldn’t be easy? Being the son of a famous father, and trying to live up to people’s expectations of you, based on your parentage.” Not a terribly new idea, really. Here we learn specifically that being either Harry Potter’s son or Draco Malfoy’s son is kinda lousy, and that trying to “prove” yourself is bound to backfire. We also get it pointed out to us that being good at (even famed for) your skill in one area of expertise is not necessarily going to translate into being a good parent.

Throughout the story, the ‘message’ feels heavy-handed, and totally overwhelms any sense of adventure or fun. The plot itself is a poorly-conceived and sometimes-confusing time-travel excursion, allowing the authors to look at a couple of “what-if” scenarios from the Harry Potter Universe, giving the play a very ‘fan-fiction’ feel.

In general, I must admit, I don’t enjoy reading theatrical scripts or screenplays. I feel that they’re designed to be seen, not read, and that they’re missing the huge, essential half of the equation that talented actors are expected to bring to the stage. There are exceptions, of course, great plays that are amazing both on the page and on stage… but this is not one.

Supposedly, this publication is “based on” a story idea by JK Rowling. Obviously, I don’t know how much of the idea was hers, but it’s worth mentioning that she did not actually write any of the words of this play – it’s distinctly not her writing style.

I didn’t have extremely high expectations of this, but nevertheless, it was still disappointing. I would not bother to go see the play on stage.

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