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JK Rowling's newest work brings magic back to life

A general view of The Palace Theatre as previews start for 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' on June 7, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. Photograph: (Getty)

Reuters London Jun 08, 2016, 05.44 AM (IST)

Queues snaked for meters at London's Palace Theatre on Tuesday (June 7). The reason? The next installment in the 'Harry Potter' saga.

'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' opened for the first of several previews at the central London venue and fans lucky enough to secure tickets for the event waited anxiously to get into the theatre.

The story - which is split into two parts - follows title character Harry Potter (played by Jamie Parker) and his school friends Ron Weasley (Paul Thornley) and Hermione Granger (Noma Dumezweni) in adulthood.

Set 19 years after JK Rowling's last work 'The Deathly Hallows', the 'Cursed Child' was adapted from a story written by Rowling and director John Tiffany - and brought to the stage by playwright Jack Thorne.

Fans were thrilled with the story which focuses on the title character and his youngest son Albus.

Harry is shown as an overworked Ministry of Magic employee coping with his son's struggles to deal with being the son of the famous wizard.

However, there has been very little other detail about the play revealed - as JK Rowling has requested that audiences don't spoil the story for others.

Harry Potter enthusiasts were thrilled by the play.

Super fan Callum Fawcett said, "I really liked the films but after seeing this, I would say, "Forget the films". I mean, this is fantastic. I would definitely come to watch this. It's got everything. It's got the real magic that the films miss out, if you know what I mean."

It seems as though the play will appeal most to super fans, rather than the casual Harry Potter enthusiast.

David Rolls said the plot is easy to get confused over if you don't know the stories inside out. "I must admit I got a bit lost with some of the characters. You have to be a real super fan, I think, to get into the story," he said.

Perhaps the biggest fan in attendance was Samantha Kent, who arrived at the venue at 12pm - seven and a half hours before the show started. She showed off her numerous Harry Potter themed tattoos and explained why she got to the theatre so early.

"Because I was photographed as the first person to queue up in Birmingham for the last book, and I kind of had to beat my record. Apart from that, I'm a massive fan," said Kent.

There has been some controversy over the casting of the play - with criticism that some of the actors don't look the same as the cast who played the characters in the films.

In particular, the decision to cast Noma Dumezweni as Hermione Granger in the play has provoked debate as the actress is black, whereas Emma Watson who plays the same character in the films is white.

JK Rowling has hit out at critics, saying she never specified what ethnicity any of the characters were in the books.

Many of the audience said it didn't matter what the play actors looked like.

"Personally, I feel it's how they [the characters] should have been all along. Hermione particulary, as a woman of colour, is just groundbreaking and it's amazing and she suits the role so, so well," said Jess Hart, a fan of the series.

Previews of 'The Cursed Child' continue until July 30 when the play opens officially.

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