Being an ardent Harry Potter fan, I’ve considered flying halfway across the world to watch the Cursed Child play in action. Fortunately for me (and legions of Australian fans), the producers announced that the play will be coming to Melbourne!
It premiered in July 2016 in London, written by Jack Thorne with story idea by J. K Rowling and John Tiffany. The popularity of the play led to its premiere in Broadway, which was its first production outside of the UK. Melbourne will be the third city to welcome the play, with San Francisco and Hamburg expected to be the fourth and fifth in late 2019 and mid 2020 respectively.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is considered to be the official eighth story in the Harry Potter series. It takes place 19 years after the final novel, and relates the story of Albus Severus Potter, who is struggling with expectations as the son of the famous Harry Potter.
Priority booking for Melbourne shows opened on July 30, with more than 200,000 seats sold in 4 days. This made Harry Potter and the Cursed Child the highest-selling play in pre-sale in Australian history, reported The Sydney Morning Herald. Fans rushed to secure themselves tickets, which caused Ticketmaster’s site to freeze. Fortunately, a second round of pre-sale was announced after many took to social media to air their grouses.
If you haven’t gotten yourself tickets, don’t panic. Performances won’t begin ’til January, and will run for an indefinite amount of time – which means that you’ll have plenty time to enjoy the play.
Casting for the show began last year, which saw hundreds of actors auditioning. Tiffany went through all of them over the course of several months before settling on the final cast. He said, “Everyone involved in our show is so excited and proud to be working with this incredibly gifted new Australian company; during the casting process we saw an extraordinary breadth and range of talent from all across Australia and New Zealand and I think audiences are going to be blown away.”
You’ll spot some familiar faces, along with some newcomers, but will they bring the characters justice? We’ll let you judge for yourself:
1. Gareth Reeves as Harry Potter
Reeves was born in New Zealand but is currently based in Melbourne. The actor started off in theatre, but broke into television in 2005 as the lead in The Insiders Guide to Love – Series 2. The performance won him the best actor performance at the New Zealand Screen Awards, which led to his first movie lead in 2007’s A Song of Good. Since then, he has remained a mainstay in Australia and New Zealand’s theatre scene and has also worked in multiple movies and TV productions. Notable works include The Leftovers and Pete’s Dragon.
2. Paula Arundell as Hermione Granger
When Noma Dumezweni, a black actress, was casted as Hermione in the original Cursed Child production, some fans were outraged at the supposedly incorrect depiction of the character. However, Rowling insisted that Hermione’s race was never mentioned in the books. Arundell will be taking on this tradition in the Melbourne show. The experienced actress had some minor roles in multiple Australian TV shows like Out of the Blue and Love My Way, but is best known for her theatre work. Her performance in The Bleeding Tree, a story about an Australian murder, won her a Helpmann Award.
3. Gyton Grantley as Ron Weasley
The award-winning actor rounds up the Golden Trio as an older Ron Weasley. If he looks familiar, it’s because Grantley portrayed drug trafficker Carl Williams in Underbelly. Apart from his TV roles in Underbelly and House Husbands, he has also starred in comedy-drama film The Dressmaker (which featured Kate Winslet as the main lead) and movie Don’t Tell. Don’t let his extensive TV and film roles fool you into thinking he’s a newbie in theatre, as Grantley has dabbled in theatre since his school years.
4. Sean Rees-Wemyss as Albus Severus Potter & William McKenna as Scorpius Malfoy
The leading roles go to Rees-Wemyss, a relative newcomer to the scene, and McKenna, who is acting in professional theatre for the first time. They have both starred in the ABC teen drama Nowhere Boys, but not at the same time. Rees-Wemyss was in the first two seasons while McKenna’s character was introduced in the third season. Regardless, we are hoping that they will bring the love-hate relationship between Albus Severus and Scorpius to life!
6. Lucy Goleby as Ginny Weasley
Goleby’s foray into theatre wasn’t planned. She “fell into theatre through a scheduling mistake at high school” and has been an actress ever since. Her most significant achievement was in 2015, when she was nominated in the best actress category at the Sydney Theatre Awards in 2015 for Good Works. More recently, the actress starred alongside Reeves in the Bell Shakespeare production of Antony and Cleopatra, so it’s only apt for her to play the role of Harry’s wife!
7. Tom Wren as Draco Malfoy
The Melbourne-born actor was nominated for Most Popular New Male Talent in the Logie Awards in 2012 for his work in Winners and Losers. He was also in the 2014 British comedy The Inbetweeners 2.
Of course, that only makes up the main cast. More actors are involved, but their roles haven’t been announced as of yet.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a two-parter, meaning that you’ll need to buy tickets for both sessions to enjoy the full play. Tickets for each part go from $65 to $175 and is available on Ticketmaster.