Birmingham’s Essential Entertainment Guide
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Some nine years after the final Harry Potter film, fans of the books and movies are still rife. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has been enjoying immense success internationally since 2016 and as well as this stage production, there have been plenty of spin-offs and parodies created; one of the latest being Voldemort and the Teenage Hogwarts Musical Parody.
From the co-creators of Thrones! The Musical comes this hour-long show, which draws attention to a sixteen-year old He Who Must Not Be Named and his latter years at Hogwarts. Who would have thought whilst at school he’d have dated a Hufflepuff, learned to kiss from a snake and been in a rock band?! It must be said that this show has no affiliation to the original JK Rowling stories but is nevertheless spectacularly funny.
The script is fast paced, witty and clever. The original songs support the humorous material but there is a softer and particularly poignant number that Hagrid (played by the superb Niall Hemingway) sings to Voldemort, which is a real moment in the show.
Bar four pull-up banners and a small number of chairs, there is no set for the tour so the show relies almost wholly on characterisation. The casting is faultless and the close proximity to the actors in the Old Joint Stock leaves no room for half-hearted performances. There are exciting appearances from much-loved characters including Dumbledore, Moaning Myrtle and a far too brief cameo from Professor Snape. Even though it is set in 1942, there is also a short amusing scene involving the three key protaganists: Harry, Ron and Hermione with the use of a time-turner.
The entire company deserve huge commendation for their dedication to the show and there is clearly a great deal of research that has gone into forming their characters. To mention only a few cast members, the hilarious Joe Taylor plays new character, Derald, but also gives the standout two minutes of the show as Snape. Samantha Bingley plays ‘Alice’ Dumbledore and clearly has comedy in her bones as well as a phenomenal singing voice. Stephen Graney has that sinister streak and the perfect cheekbones needed to play ‘You Know Who’, whilst Stefani Ariza embodies Shirley Henderson’s portrayal of Moaning Myrtle incredibly well.
Whilst the technical elements of the show leave a fair amount to be desired, the fringe venues they play in are more limited with resources. However, the strength of the material means it could play to an audience with the house lights on and it would still be spellbindingly brilliant.
Voldemort and the Teenage Hogwarts Musical Parody plays at the Old Joint Stock Theatre until Sunday 1 March. Mischief managed.
**** Four stars
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