I liked it. I’ve heard a lot of people criticise it but I liked it.
Without spoiling it too much for those who haven’t read it, the story centres around the death of Cedric Diggory in the Triwizard Tournament from The Goblet of Fire. Harry is 40 and is failing spectacularly at being a dad to his younger son Albus who goes off to Hogwarts and is promptly sorted into Slytherin. While there he becomes best friends with Scorpius, son of Draco Malfoy. Hogwarts for Albus is more of a prison than a haven. He feels like he doesn’t fit in. He feels alienated. He just doesn’t get on with Harry and the two struggle to connect. So after another argument with his dad, Albus and a reluctant Scorpius set off on a time-travelling quest to save Cedric and stop his tragic death but messing with the past has disastrous consequences. Imagine a reality where Voldermort still reigns or – shock, horror – Ron and Hermione never end up together.
Scorpius is by far the best thing about the book. He is nothing like Draco as a boy. He is kind, funny, nerdy and unsure of himself. And like Albus, he is trapped in a legacy he never asked for and doesn’t want. He is plagued by rumours that he is the son of Voldermort but manages to keep his good humour and his optimistic outlook on life. The role reversal of a dark Potter and a sunny, friendly Malfoy is very clever.
The alternate reality in which Voldermort won the war and still rules is terrifying. Dolores Umbridge is at her horrible best as headmaster of Hogwarts with Mud-Bloods locked up and tortured in the dungeons. Draco in charge of attacks on muggles and mud-blood death camps. And the stage directions telling us that the auditorium turns chilled as dementors appear all around us sounds like it would be awesome to see live.
Like all the Harry Potter books, this story is ultimately about friendship and its importance. The friendship between Albus and Scorpius forms the backbone of the story but it also focuses on Harry’s friendships and how he couldn’t have achieved what he did without them. As he faces Delphi in the final scenes he tells her “I’ve never fought alone, you see. And I never will.” Even Draco is there standing by Harry’s side – I’ve always been a Draco fan, a Draco defender, and always knew he was a good guy underneath.
The only criticism I have is that I couldn’t quite work out where in the timeline Belletrix’s pregnancy to Voldermort is meant to have happened. She is supposed to have given birth to Delphi before the battle of Hogwarts but are we supposed to just accept that while all the other stuff is going on in the books that Bellatrix has been pregnant and had a baby with no one noticing? Also the thought of making a baby with Voldermort kind of grossed me out.
Before I finish, I have a confession to make and it’s controversial. I don’t like Harry. I never have. Harry Potter is my least favourite character in the Harry Potter books and this play has done nothing to change that. He was a whiner all through the first seven books and he is still a whiner at the age of 40.
I enjoyed this play as a nostalgic return to the world of Harry Potter. I can’t wait until I get the chance to go and see the play. I would thoroughly recommend it to any Harry Potter fan.