Entertainment

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play enchants fans in 1st preview

Dressed in Hogwarts robes and waving wands, eager fans got a first glimpse of the next instalment in the Harry Potter saga, giving a new London stage production glowing reviews.

New London play started previews Tuesday, official opening set for July 30

A tourist poses for a picture in front of the Palace Theatre, the London venue staging Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Previews began Tuesday night for the anticipated play that imagines the fictional boy wizard as a father of three, in the latest offshoot of the globally successful franchise. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images)

Dressed in Hogwarts robes and waving wands, eager fans got a first glimpse of the next instalment in the Harry Potter saga, giving a new London stage production glowing reviews.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child brings back to life author J.K. Rowling's magical world of wizards and witches, set 19 years after her last book about the much-loved character and his friends Ron and Hermione.

The play, the eighth story in the series, opened for previews on Tuesday night at London's Palace Theatre, outside which queues snaked for metres as those who secured the first tickets waited anxiously to get in.

The play, split into two parts, follows the three friends into adulthood, with Potter now described as an overworked Ministry of Magic employee, coping with his youngest son Albus' struggles with his famous family's legacy.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child stars actors Jamie Parker (left, as Harry Potter), Sam Clemmett (as Albus Severus Potter) and Poppy Miller (as Ginny Potter). (@HPPlayLDN/Twitter)

Little else has been revealed and Rowling, whose books were turned into box office hit movies, has asked that audiences do not spoil the story for others.

"I really liked the films but after seeing this, I would say, forget the films," fan Callum Fawcett said. "This is fantastic ... It's got everything."

"It was utterly remarkable, just incredible," fellow fan Ollie Southgate added. "It's a whole different version of everything that everyone loves about the books ... The visual effects they've got is like nothing I've ever seen."

The play is based on a story written by Rowling, screenwriter and playwright Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany. Journalists said audiences were enchanted.

J.K. Rowling has urged fans who take in the new play to avoid sharing spoilers about the story. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

"The audience ... cannot be more thrilled or more appreciative or more ready to be caught up in the spirit of the undertaking," wrote the New York Times adding: "The three main characters remained true to their younger selves".

Britain's Daily Telegraph wrote: "The audience came wanting magic and they got it in spades ... Has Rowling done it again? The audience was in no doubt."

On Twitter, Rowling said the reaction to the first preview was "wonderful".

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opens on July 30. 

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