You're in England. You're a millennial. You're going to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts I and II. It's going to be expensive and you're going to love it.
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Post updated May, 2019
I've always been a massive Harry Potter fan, so when Harry Potter and Cursed Child came out in 2016, of course I read the entire script in one day and immediately began to dream of seeing it performed live, in London.
Luckily for us, when we visited London in April, we were able to see the production in the original theatre and I could not have enjoyed it more. But, with two full, length plays, it's quite an endeavor! You'll definitely need to plan accordingly.
Here are a few helpful tips, to know before you go:
Should I see the show in one day or two?
The show has two parts, each of which is an entire, full-length play, complete with a full-length intermission. It's a marathon, not a sprint. You can buy tickets for both parts in one day (which is what we did) or you can split it up (Part 1 on one day and Part II the next, or any other, day). My only real regret about this show is that I did not split the show up into two separate nights. Each part is long and involved. We're regular theatre goers, but it really was very long. We were essentially either in transit, in the show, taking breaks, or eating, from approximately 1 PM- after dark. I would highly recommend seeing Part I one night and Part II the following night, if you have enough time in London to do so.
How early should I arrive?
Your tickets tell you to get to the theatre an hour early for security. The theatre is located in the classic theatre district in London's West End and is easy to get to from anywhere in the city. (Use the Covent Garden or Leicester Square tube stop).
But be advised, follow the instructions regarding arrival time. I repeat: DO THIS. I generally take such recommendations with a grain of salt, knowing that they're managing a large number of people arriving at the same time, etc. However, be warned: There is a massive line for security and it moves quite slowly. They check everyone's bags (another tip - don't bring a bag unless you truly, truly, truly need one; it'll help all of us). There's a bar once you get inside, so you'll be fine, even if you're a bit early. There is a hold (as usual) at the beginning of the show.
If you are late, even because of the security line, you will miss the first scene.
Are there drinks in the theatre?
It's England - of course there are!!! What a smashing country!
There are several bars inside the theatre. They are expensive, but truly not outrageous. Drink before, as well, obviously. As always in London, be sure to place your "interval" drink order at the beginning of the show. In anticipation of the break, the bar staff will place your drinks on a shelf with a corresponding number for you to pick up during the intermission. That said, if you order in the ornate bar on the Orchestra Level, your drinks are on a very obscurely placed shelf (actual shelf) to the back left of the bar (down a sort of odd hallway).
A friendly reminder, so that you can learn from my mistake! Do not order champagne. In London, Champagne is actual, high-end, French Champagne. For my now-curious British readers - when ordering, American still use the term colloquially to mean fizz and then the bar tender will list out the different options available - prosecco, cava, etc.
Is there an intermission?
Yes, a couple! In fact, there is a full-length interval (intermission) in each portion of the play - lots of time for stepping out to the lobby for a quick drink!
What should I do about food during this Cursed Child marathon?
If, like us, you see the entire show in one day (wow - long), you'll have a significant dinner break between the two performances. There is more than enough time to stop by a pub for dinner. Most importantly - walk as far away from the theatre as possible before stopping into a pub. You really do have time. The pubs right next to the theatre are absolutely slammed each night, but if you just walk a ways up Shaftesbury Avenue, you'll be fine.
But, remember, you'll have to wait in line and go through the full security procedure again when you come back - so do allow enough time for that.
And finally - enjoy!! It's so wonderful to be immersed in the Wizarding World!
It's our childhood, on stage, for an entire day. You're going to love it.
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