Harry Potter is my soulmate... And so, when J.K. Rowling announced that her new installment of Harry Potter, in the form of a full-length, two part, West End play, was going to be happening whilst I lived in Europe, the resounding no-brainer became abundantly clear. My dear Hot Blonde Cousin living in London sat at her work computer for hours in an online queue last September to secure us preview tickets, despite the fact that she herself has never been a Potter fan (something I can't at all fathom but try daily to forgive). Finally, months and months and MONTHS later, the curtain rose... twice.
I ventured to London on a Thursday afternoon, bedecked in my Hogwarts scarf, and Facebook checked into King's Cross Station. Technically, the Eurostar arrives in St. Pancras, which is also the superior looking building in my opinion, but aesthetics and reality be damned! I was on my way to Platform 9 and 3/4 no matter the cost. After spending a few hours grabbing lunch and dropping bags at my cousin's apartment, she and I met in central London for dinner before the show. In fact, I had to pick up our coveted tickets at the box office, which is when I caught my first glimpse of the theatre's facade. Rarely have I seen such a fantastic exterior. I took requisite pictures both evenings of the event just to be sure I had a sufficient shot.
After getting through security check (something I have noticed is more thorough every time I go to the theatre these days), we found our randomly assigned seats, which turned out to be spectacular: a bit off to the side but front mezzanine with a clear shot of the stage. And for a show so chock full of magical stage effects, it was near perfection. Now, I won't say much about the show itself, as this is not a review by any stretch, but when the curtain fell after the first night's performance, I was in heaven. As we walked out of the theatre, we were all handed complimentary pins embossed with #KeepTheSecrets . We had been inducted into the magical world of wizards and no mere muggle would be giving us away.
For most of the next day I was on tenterhooks to see what the outcome would be before I could prepare for round two of Potterdom. The second night we sat in our same cozy seats, making it feel like it was OUR theatre with OUR friends surrounding us (she said with a nostalgic haze of movie magic around her face). But seriously, the show was, for lack of a better word, UNREAL. It definitely requires Harry Potter knowledge to truly appreciate the story and script, but even if you aren't prepared with the appropriate wizarding world education, the staging and effects make up for it.
As I have said to many people since then, and without giving any of the secrets away (unbreakable vow), the stage magic somehow seemed more real than the movie magic. In films, you expect CGI, cinematographic and editing marvels, but to see an actor vanish from the stage in what seems a mere millisecond is truly astounding. By the end of the two performances, I had to hold myself back from wingardium leviosa-ing myself into Mr. Potter's arms. All hail J.K. Rowling. All hail the theatre. All hail soul-love.