Warning: This post contains spoilers for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Fans who have been lucky enough to see The Cursed Child play are already raving about the new Harry Potter story, which brings many familiar members of the wizarding world together on the stage of the West End’s Palace Theatre.
Set 19 years after the events of The Deathly Hallows, the show is centered around the relationship between Harry and his youngest son Albus, who is struggling to come to terms with the weight of his father’s legacy. However, while the golden trio (Harry, Ron and Hermione) and their children — along with Draco and young Scorpius Malfoy — have starring roles, there are many other series favorites who make appearances along the way.
1. Albus Dumbledore: Of the many old favorites who turn up in Cursed Child, the late beloved Albus Dumbledore — he whose name is now carried by the protagonist — undoubtedly inspires the most reverence. Like all former Hogwarts heads he is now an animated portrait and makes a show-stopping entrance, commanding the scenery to move aside before gliding gracefully into position. It’s just as well he takes his sweet time because the audience need a moment to pick their jaws up off the floor.
2. Severus Snape: The sight of Snape inevitably brings to mind the late Alan Rickman, who portrayed him so brilliantly on screen, and it’s difficult to hear his lines not being spoken in Rickman’s trademark tones. We won’t reveal the circumstances of his appearance but needless to say the hair remains lank and black, the put-downs vicious and the banter with Hermione as lively as ever.
3. Moaning Myrtle: This bathroom-dwelling witch crops up at a crucial point in the story and induces immediate giggles of affection. She flirts outrageously with her old favorite Harry, and pretty much any other man who comes within 10 yards of the taps on which she cavorts. And she demonstrates the finest bit of ghost footsie yet seen on the West End stage.
4. Bane: One of the Forbidden Forest-dwelling centaurs, Bane’s appearance lends the show a distinctly War Horse-like vibe. Striding majestically from the gloom, he oozes gravitas and, more importantly to the characters, key information. He is also strangely attractive for a man who is half equine, sporting a fine mane and equally impressive set of pectorals.
5. Dolores Umbridge: To explain the context for the appearance of Professor Umbridge, last seen heading for incarceration in Azkaban, would be deeply unfair, but it will certainly sort the superfans from the Muggles. Harry’s former nemesis returns in an unexpected capacity, and it heralds one of the most eye-popping effects in the show. You have been warned.
—with reporting by Theo Bosanquet / London