A Cursed Brainchild.
The reasons I find “A Cursed Child” offensive as a potterhead are innumerable, I will do my best, however, to answer and address all my grievances in this review.
The most immediate, glaring issue in the story is the context that story takes place in. The story paints Harry as a weary and poor father to Albus, his second son. I find this hard to believe as Harry, while imperfect, had vibrant relationships with people of all backgrounds in the original books; the background for Harry’s poor parenting is his inability to “understand” his son. Beyond the context the very plot is troublesome. The book uses the concept of “time turners” – time machines – to essentially revisit all the dead and changed, original, characters in their original-series state. Instead of truly forging a new road the story relies on the classic “time travel” tropes and fails to create a truly engaging adventure as a result. In fact, the time turners don’t even work correctly. Overall, the time travel plot could have worked if they had not allowed the original characters to overshadow development of the new character. Why do Albus and Scorpius love Cedric enough to risk the world for him? – the story consistently fails to develop this question. The central villain of this plot, Delphini, continues the downward spiral of the book. She is somehow the daughter of Voldemort, an asexually-written villain who apparently conceived a child somewhere in the week or two between the two final battles of the main series.
The plot relies heavily upon the original series, failing to write its own story, and when it does try to be original it feels like someone read the synopsis of the entire Harry Potter series and went from there. The script feels like bad fanfiction throughout and I can’t shake that feeling that J.K. Rowling wrote the “idea” and Jack Thorne failed it.
My largest complaint resides outside of all of these glaring issues, however, I take offense at the blatantly obvious queer-baiting the play engages in. Severus and Albus are written to be incredibly close; they hug passionately and one line essentially reads “he felt an infinite loss” describing one of the boys not being able to live without the other. Live. The script blends the two’s relationship constantly, works to create a vibrant romance, and then at the very end matches Scorpius with Rose Weasley, a character the book introduced in a few beginning sentences then ignored for the entirety of the story. ‘Cuz no homo bro?
Rating: A Cursed Brainchild. Would not recommend.