Concluding my review of the London theatre scene from my recent trip – this week I present a couple of two-part epic plays. Most plays run a couple of hours. However, it is not unheard of for a longer show to be performed in two parts – either on consecutive nights or as a day/night doubleheader – matinee and evening. Nicholas Nickleby and Angels in America are classic examples from years past. However, it seems two-part plays are having a moment, with a couple currently on the boards in London: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and The Inheritance. I took naps and made sure I had the stamina to take in both of these epics and I am glad I did.

FF: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

First, I finally had the chance to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I say finally as I thought I had tickets to see it on my last trip to London in April 2017 but it turned out I had purchased tickets for April 2018. Doh!

Anyway, the show is a new chapter in the Harry Potter world and is a must for any Potter fan – or anyone who loves the magic of live theatre.

We meet Harry and his Hogwarts mates as adults and are introduced to a new generation. But that’s all I can say as we are asked to “keep the secrets” of the show.

About Harry Potter and the Cursed Child:

“Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new play by Jack Thorne received its world premiere in London’s West End at the Palace Theatre in summer 2016. The critically acclaimed production is most awarded West End play in the history of the Olivier Awards, winning a record-breaking nine awards including Best New Play and Best Director in 2017. Written by BAFTA, Tony and Olivier award-winner Jack Thorne and directed by Olivier and Tony award winner John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage, bringing together some of the most exciting talent working in the theatre today.”

What I can say is that the more than five hours of show never drags and the story is fun and engaging with some wonderfully inventive stage craft. Of course if you are familiar with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter you will take more away, but Harry Potter and the Cursed Child stands on its own as a very good play and production. I for one am so happy to see this show is playing to sold out crowds and introducing new generations to the glories of live theatre.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child continues its indefinite run at London’s Palace Theatre and on Broadway at New York’s Lyric Theatre. Additional productions in Hamburg, Melbourne and San Francisco have been announced.

FF: The Inheritance

Meanwhile, just a couple of blocks away at London’s Noel Coward Theatre is a very different two-part play, The Inheritance, an ensemble play examining the lives of gay men across generations. This may sound niche, but the work is so rich and compelling it crosses into the mainstream and I dare to say is an important work for younger generations to understand their not so distance elders.

About The Inheritance:

“Following a sold-out, critically-acclaimed run at the Young Vic, Matthew Lopez’s major two-part world premiere The Inheritance lands in London’s West End for just fifteen weeks. Directed by multi Olivier Award winner Stephen Daldry, this ‘monumental and transcendent’ (Time Out) production questions how much we owe to those who lived and loved before us. A generation after the peak of the AIDs crisis, what is it like to be a young gay man in New York? How many words are there now for pain and for love? Stephen Daldry’s ‘remarkably involving production’ (Independent) explores profound themes through the turbulent and often hilarious experiences of a group of young, ambitious New Yorkers.  What is the legacy left to them by previous generations? What do they owe the future and each other? Spanning generations and interlinking lives, The Inheritance is ‘an exquisitely truthful and funny modern classic’ (Telegraph) that brilliantly transposes EM Forster’s novel Howards End to 21st century New York.”

The Inheritance is one of those plays that starts out one way and draws you in to think you are in for one experience and then takes a turn and you are amazed by the power of the storytelling. Performed by a great ensemble of young actors and a few stellar veterans, including the great Vanessa Redgrave, The Inheritance will stay with you for a long time.

The Inheritance continues its limited run at London’s Noel Coward Theatre through January 19, 2019.