Harry Potter and the (M)Angsty Child
What better topic to discuss on Halloween than Harry Potter?? I've been a Harry Potter fan since I was eight years old and my aunt read a chapter of The Chamber of Secrets to me and my cousins. It was love at first reading, and I went into full child fan mode within months. I wrote Harry Potter plays for me and my cousins to perform and next gen fanfics as creative writing assignments in school (in one particularly thrilling one, Harry and Ginny hosted a barbecue for their friends). I immersed myself in it fully, and if I'd known then that sixteen years on, I'd be flying to London to see the continuation of Harry Potter on stage, I would have been thrilled.
Sadly, sixteen years on, The Cursed Child proved to be quite a disappointment. The book was terrible, but reading it, I'd hoped that the play would be better. It wasn't. It was "thank goodness the theater bar has happy hours" levels of bad. I've heard people calling it bad fan fiction, but I don't think that's fair. It's more like – and I owe A for this comparison – like a four-hour-long SNL skit making fun of Harry Potter... or as the Duke of Bookingham put it, like a parody of A Very Potter Musical. It was whiny, it was full of manpain and teen angst, and it all felt very hokey.
I think most of the experience can be summed up by a small scene I witnessed in the theater bar before the second part of the play started. I came across a mother-daughter pair, and the daughter (maybe seven or eight years old) was begging her mom to go upstairs because they needed to join the merchandise queue, and the mom just sighed, and firmly announced, "No, Mummy needs a cocktail."
Nursing my own cocktail at the time, I sympathized and many cocktails were had that night.
Still, I enjoyed myself at the play quite a bit. There's quite a lot in going to bad plays in excellent company. A reacted similarly to every bit of the play as I did, and we had a marvelous time quietly bashing it to each other. We went through it together, and we had fun, and I don't at all regret going.