Tuesday 20 February 2018

Pottermania: Irish bookshops gear up for midnight party for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

The Palace Theatre in central London, with signage for the new Harry Potter and the Cursed Child production, which will officially debut tonight. Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
The Palace Theatre in central London, with signage for the new Harry Potter and the Cursed Child production, which will officially debut tonight. Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
The cast of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, as a further 250,000 tickets for the new stage play, are set to go on sale next week. Photo: Manuel Harlan/PA Wire

Geraldine Gittens and Agency

Nearly eight weeks of previews and months more of fans' excitement are over.

As the clock turns midnight on Sunday morning, the script of the two-part play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be released in Ireland.

The majority of Irish Harry Potter fans will have to wait until Sunday morning to purchase their copies, with many bookshops opting out of a midnight opening.

But Hodges Figgis on Dawson Street in Dubin, Bridge Street Books in Wicklow, and Waterstones in Drogheda will sell the book as soon as the clock strikes midnight.

Hodges Figgis will open from 10pm for a Harry Potter party, which will include Quidditch practice, "Owl racing", fortune telling, a Harry Potter quiz and readings.

Fans can pre-order their book now for half price.

Waterstones in Drogheda will also open from 10pm. The bookshop has warned that while all are welcome, fans must contact the shop in advance to book a place. The shop's phone number is 041 983 8527 and the email address is drogheda@waterstones.com.

Bridge Street Books on Bridge Street in Wicklow town will also open at midnight. Fun, games, and quizes are promised for queueing fans.

Those eager to find out what happens in the time-twisting instalment can read the review of 10-year-old Toby L'Estrange, a speed-reading prodigy who has been challenged by Amazon to write the first review of the new Harry Potter story.

Despite the script's release, stage play audiences will still be urged to "Keep the secret" as they leave.

Keeping the play spoiler-free is all the more important as producers announce another 250,000 tickets are set to go on sale next week, keeping it running until December 2017.

More tickets will be made available from 11am on August 4.

Taking place on the eve of the joint birthday of Harry and his creator Rowling, the doors to London's Palace Theatre will - like Platform 9 3/4 of Kings Cross Station before them - provide the gateway for fans to return to the magical world of Harry, Ron, Hermione and their beloved Hogwarts on Saturday.

The two-part play, which stretches over five hours, is set 19 years after the events of the seventh and final book, with Ministry of Magic employee Harry and his wife Ginny waving off their youngest son Albus Severus to school.

But at Hogwarts, Albus struggles with the weight of his family legacy and goes to extreme and dangerous lengths to right the wrongs of the past.

Co-devised by Rowling, written by Jack Thorne and directed by John Tiffany, it appears an Obliviate charm worthy of Gilderoy Lockhart would be required for critics to forget the "spellbinding" and "out of this world" experience of the Cursed Child.

Daily Telegraph critic Dominic Cavendish said that "British theatre hasn't known anything like it for decades".

He raved: "It's a triumph. Not an unqualified one - there are some quibbles - but in all key respects, it grips, it stirs, it delights."

The Independent's Jack Shepherd similarly awarded the play five stars, writing: "It's quite apparent this isn't written to be either a book or a tie-in film; it's a spectacle for the theatre, one that is filled to the brim with fan service and magical imagery that will amaze."

Special praise has gone to Sam Clemmett, who plays Albus, and Anthony Boyle as Draco Malfoy's son Scorpius, while Jamie Parker, Paul Thornley and Noma Dumezweni play the adult stars of the wizarding saga: Harry, Ron and Hermione.

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