I’m not entirely sure where to start with this one because I’m excited to talk about getting to see my most hotly anticipated play ever – so soon after my last play review in which I thought I wasn’t going to the theatre again for a long time; but also I need to acknowledge the fact it meant I had to go into London the day after the most recent London terrorist attack on London Bridge and Borough Market.
I think I would like to start from the beginning though, after all, it is a very good place to start.
Back in January I was super excited that I was able to buy tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play in London. If you have experienced the craziness of what it is to try and buy tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play, then you’ll know all about the pain that I mean, and know exactly how hard it is. Think entire days wasted sitting in virtual queues from the moment the newest batch of tickets are released, not allowing yourself to do anything but watch your little wizard man move slowly up the queue, lest you miss the magical moment you are picked to buy tickets. To watch him all day, only to then see him almost reach the end of the line (whilst you’re reaching the end of yours too) – you’re so close you can almost smell the theatre itself – only to have the wizard buddy you’ve been willing along all day to move, only to have him suddenly stand still, the page refreshes itself – he’s gone forever and is replaced with a ‘sold out’ page.
The days I have wasted.
Well, in January’s ticket release, my little man got all the way to the end, the music played, my adrenaline levels were sky high, and I had the privilege of giving them £230 of my hard earned money for two of us to go and see parts one and two of the Harry Potter play in March 2018.
Over a year to wait.
But, there was still hope.
For those who don’t know, every Friday at 1pm, there’s what’s called the Friday Forty, in which 40 tickets go on sale for the following week’s performances for £40. £40! That’s £20 a performance. Most Friday’s, I won’t say every Friday, for the past at least nine months (it may even be longer than this I didn’t take note of when I actually started trying to get these tickets), I have sat with every screen I have with internet availability (laptop – two browsers, mobile and Kindle Fire) my fingers and hover arrows poised on the Friday Forty button, ready to get my place in the queue for some cheap tickets. I’ve only missed a Friday when I know I wouldn’t be able to make the performances the following week.
So apart from those ones, most Fridays at 1pm, I sit there counting down to the page refresh and get ready to hit the ‘buy tickets’ button on all devices and wait for my wizard man to make it to the end of the line. Every Friday has been a failure, until last Friday that is!
Yes I had tickets for March 2018, but I didn’t want to have to wait that long, I was desperate to see this play, so I carried on trying to get Friday Forty tickets. My perseverance paid off, the wizard reached the end of the line, the music played and I was able to get two sets of tickets for both parts one and two of the performance on the following Sunday 4th June 2017.
I couldn’t believe my luck.
£80 for two tickets instead of the £230 I had already paid. Those boys would be going back for a refund!
As I said in my post from a couple of weeks ago in which I saw Strictly Murder at the Theatre Royal Windsor, I don’t get to go to shows too often because it’s an expensive hobby; but I do love it. And I was slightly concerned that my next theatre visit wouldn’t actually be until 2018 for the Harry Potter play. Little did I know, I would be back in a theatre two weeks later – not just seeing any old show, but the Harry Potter play itself! I could tick another item off the Bucket List.
I was, as you can probably guess, very excited all the next week after I got the tickets, that was – until the night of Saturday 3rd June, the night before the performance, when the terrible news came in of what was happening in London.
The realisation of the dangerous times we are currently living in, was at that moment very real.
A van and men jumping out with knives is all it took and seven people are dead. Many more injured. People just trying to enjoy themselves wrongly killed and injured in the name of a god who wouldn’t allow these acts of terrorism. No god would allow these actions, especially not in their name.
Defenceless individuals needlessly and senselessly killed.
Keep calm and carry on. Isn’t that the British motto?
We all will die some day, we know that. But that survival instinct, to stay away from trouble, to stay away from dangerous situations, to sit quietly at home and live out our days in peace, not getting involved; it’s hard to ignore.
As the story unfolded and the eye witness accounts came in, I know Dan and I were both thinking the same thing, just neither one of us wanted to say it. So we didn’t.
We set our alarm for the next morning as intended, worked out what train we would need to catch and we carried on. We both admitted we were a little scared, but we didn’t want it to take us over. We love going to London, we weren’t going to let this change it for us, to make us scared of a place we love and feel safe in.
The train was quiet, very quiet, but we kept saying to ourselves that it was also a Sunday, and nothing opens in London until 12pm on Sundays so of course a morning train to London was going to be quiet. The guard checked everyone’s tickets, two – three times during the journey. But there was no denying it, it felt different. Raw.
I was still excited to see the play, but it wasn’t the same. And I certainly wasn’t carefree. When people got too close, I felt panicked. Loud noises made me jump. I had even looked up that morning how best to defend yourself against someone with a knife, so I had those tips going through my mind. Elbow to the throat, shin to the groin. Throw things, yell – these are all for when talking doesn’t calm a situation and someone is trying to hurt you. A terrorist won’t be listening to your talking.
All I’m trying to say is, I was preoccupied. But the show was going on and I was determined to try and enjoy myself whilst watching the play.
I’d preordered the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child script book back in February 2016 and read it (like everyone else) the day it came out in August 2016. I only read it once because I knew that I wanted to see the show for myself one day and I wanted it all to still be a surprise for me. I know my brain and my memory, so knew that if I let it – I would eventually forget what had happened in the book, and be able to watch the play it as if I had never even read the book – with no idea of what was going happen. And so, I didn’t touch the script again or have conversations about it or even really let myself think about the story itself. The script was not a topic of conversation I was willing to have with anyone. And it worked, I’d forgotten almost everything as the play was acted out in front of me, there was the odd thing that prompted memories, but I just tried to ignore them.
Part one was to start at 1pm on the dot and we were instructed to be there one hour before it began to make sure we had time to go through security. As you can imagine they were stopping and searching everyone’s bags and body scanning each person, so it was going to take a bit of time.
But not as much time as we anticipated as we then had a good 40 minutes to wait once we were in our seats, and when the leg room is confined (it’s an old theatre), 40 minutes on top of a two hour performance is quite a big deal. And I’m 5.3″ – so I had it easy compared to anyone taller than me.
It was the same situation with part two, be there an hour before the 6:30pm prompt start to get through security. We had another 40 minute wait when we arrived back to our seats. The train ride home again was agonising, I felt like I needed to run up and down the aisle, I was so fidgety!
The play itself was magic from the start. In fact, I think I may have been witnessing real magic at points. The use of trap doors, wires and slight of hand, was sheer brilliance.
I don’t want to give any spoilers, but you do need to know the story of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and also the Deathly Hallows for the big things to make sense with this one. But really, if you don’t know the story of Harry Potter – where have you been?
The acting was superb, I mean – it’s theatre so it was always going to be ‘theatrical’, but the lines were delivered really well. It was funny, moving and I got totally swept up in the action.
The use of scenery was inspiring too. There was enough there to give us a sense of the world the characters were in but we weren’t given too much that we couldn’t use our own imaginations to see it for ourselves. There was a couple of times when I didn’t initially get where they were meant to be until they said it and my brain would click with an internal ‘ohhh, I see it now’ but I’m sure that was only twice. A everything was put on and taken off the stage with a flourish which I thoroughly enjoyed and will be taking this up at home, ‘finished with that mug?’ WHOOSH and it’s gone. Magic.
Seeing the old gang, hearing the names ‘Harry, Hermione and Ron’ was a real uplifting experience too and I loved getting to see how their lives have turned out 19 years on. Unlikely friendships, old grudges and more are explored in this which certainly fed my wanting for more Potter action.
As we were leaving, good ol’ sceptical Dan turned to me and said ‘How long do you think it’ll be before they turn it into a film?’ But I honestly don’t think that will happen, that could just be hopeful wishing on my part. I’m wishing for more books. You never know, it could happen.
Over all, I loved the play. I consider myself a big Potter fan, although I know I am nowhere near as into it as some people can be, I started listening to a Harry Potter podcast and had to unsubscribe again when I realised that they were just at another level – it was too much for me. And I think that’s what Dan felt when the second part of part two was starting. He’d had enough. So if you’re not properly into the whole Harry Potter wizarding world, then maybe almost five hours in cramped conditions watching a story that you’re not really bothered about that much, won’t be for you. Otherwise, try with Friday Forty, try when the next lot of tickets are released – and go see it!
I sadly couldn’t fully forget the events of the previous night and I was on edge until I got home again. But I had done it. I hadn’t let my fear and the terrorists fear tactics stop me. My life is mine to live, and I intend to live it as I want and to the fullest.
Until next time. x