Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne

Like a lot of my generation, I read every Harry Potter as it came out. I can tell you where I read each one, from the first I “borrowed” from my little brother aged 11, cycling to the local town on release day to buy The Prisoner of Azkaban, through to a group of friends driving to the supermarket to pick up all our copies of The Deathly Hollows (and snacks) just after midnight, and spending the whole morning curled up in someone’s parents’ lounge, all of us devouring it with equal enthusiasm.

With Harry Potter framing much of my teenage years, of course I picked up a copy of The Cursed Child. There are spoilers below the cut.

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I Love You Because – Chorley Little Theatre

I’ve kept meaning to go to a performance at Chorley Little Theatre for a while, so this week picked up a ticket for I love you because.

I didn’t know anything about this musical before I walked into the auditorium, the cost of tickets being such that I was happy to buy one whatever the show was. It was a wonderfully lighthearted love story, with the traditional star-crossed lovers working out who they are and what love means. I came out humming the very catchy theme, and bought the soundtrack that evening.

As for Chorley Little Theatre, again it is very impressive. The actors and acting were great, the set was tidy and the musicians were fabulous! Plus I had a hot chocolate for £1 in the interval (getting up for work early the next morning). I’m now considering buying a season ticket for 2016/17 and will be back.

Avenue Q – 2016 tour – Manchester

The sun is shining its a lovely day
The perfect morning for a kid to play
But you have lots of bills to pay
What can you do?

Finding ourselves entirely free on a Saturday evening, we browsed the local theatre listings, and realised that it was the last night of the Avenue Q run in Manchester. That was enough to have us at the box office, picking up a couple of the last tickets available.

We’d previously seen the first run of Avenue Q in London in around 2008, from West End “cheap” seats. But on tour, we were comfortably in the middle of the stalls, with leg room and a great view. I don’t know how much this contributed to it being much better than either of us remembered, making us both laugh at the puppets mocking their own fates. The characters are surprising convincing and empathetic, and I have several of the songs still in my head.

For a silly light-hearted musical, it is surprisingly deep in places. The more “adult” content did have me cringing in places though!

The Book of Mormon (Musical)

A brilliantly funny (and very crude) musical which I got to on the West End see as my main birthday present. I was very impressed at how they balanced between making fun of Mormons who have gone out to Missions and treating those Mormons as good people who try to rationalise their own beliefs. Apparently they did this so well that the Church of Latter Day Saints actually likes the musical (and the program includes adverts for the actual Book of Mormon).

The music has good repeated themes throughout to tie the production together, as is sufficently catchy that when I hear “Hello” I now automatically follow it up in my head with “…my name is Elder Price”.

The Rivals

As an alternative to a book review, last night we went to see The Rivals at the Royal Theatre in Bath. This is a comedy of manners set in Regency Bath.

The actors were generally very good, and Mrs Malprop played her part fantastically, with the audience laughing throughout. I hadn’t previously known that this was where the word “Malpropism” came from.

Our pre-theatre meal was more rushed than planned, but was still a very nice pizza in the Market bar across the road from the theatre. This also gave us a perfect view of the BBC crew doing their opening night filming.

If you are in the area, try to see this in the next week. Its definitely worth it.