Cursed Child stars dazzle at Dymocks
A little bit of theatrical magic appeared in Dymocks Waurn Ponds on Friday last week.
Ahead of their performance in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child that night, cast members Michael Bani and Hannah Fredericksen turned up at the store for a reading from the book that started it all 25 years ago, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, as well as signing autographs and taking selfies with a crowd of more than 80 Harry Potter fans.
Based on an original story by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and written for the stage by Jack Thorne in 2016, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child picks up immediately where the epilogue of book seven – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – left off, where the titular wizard and his friends are now adults and have children of their own.
The plot follows not only Harry grappling with his past but also the adventures of his son Albus at Hogwarts and the unlikely friendship Albus forms with Scorpius, son of Harry’s long-time rival Draco Malfoy.
Bani (who does double duty in Cursed Child as The Sorting Hat and Bane) and Fredericksen (who plays Moaning Myrtle and three other roles) read from chapter 7 (“The Sorting Hat”) of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and spent about an hour signing posters and merchandise as well as taking photographs with fans.
“That was really fun, it’s really nice,” Fredericksen said. “Everyone was really appreciative, which is really lovely. It’s nice to be in Geelong.”
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opened in Melbourne in February 2019 and ran in its original two-part format until March 27 this year, re-opening about six weeks later in a new one-show version.
Fredericksen and Bani have performed both the two-part and one-part incarnations.
“To be in it (as an actor), I reckon it’s more jam-packed; I think I just do not stop running – both of us – it keeps us really busy,” Fredericksen said.
“It’s the two-part version, condensed, so none of the stuff people love about it is gone, which is amazing for audiences, but it means we just work really hard, even harder now for this condensed version, which has all the same magic and all the same tricks and same story, but there’s no breaks.”
“It’s very fast-paced,” Bani added, “but fun.”
Bani, who wore his full Sorting Hat costume to the signing, said it was great to be introducing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to readers more than two decades after the novel became a literary juggernaut that captured the imaginations of millions, both young and old.
“The fascinating thing I’m finding is that the story is not just continuing but the kids that read it 25 years ago are now parents and reading it to their kids and it’s getting passed on; it’s really quite cool.”
Dymocks Waurn Ponds manager Julie Garner said the crowd on Friday was the biggest her store had seen for a book signing, even surpassing the event with the authors of The Selwood Boys series.
She said the Cursed Child script was still selling well, as was the special 25th anniversary edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
“It’s still a phenomenon, and I think it always will be.”
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is now showing at Melbourne’s Princess Theatre.
For more information and tickets, head to au.harrypottertheplay.com.