|(c) Manuel Harlan|
The new cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has been announced, showing one of the perils of its enormous sell-out success, that the cast playing when you book might not necessarily be the cast you get when you eventually get into the Palace Theatre. The received wisdom is that you shouldn't be aggrieved at not seeing a particular performer but such a wholesale cast change in such a beloved and prize-garlanded company, I think people are allowed to feel disappointed, even if momentarily.
For there's a whole new set of players to get excited by, most notably (for me) Rakie Ayola stepping into Noma Dumezweni's shoes to play Hermione Granger. Ayola was balls-out amazing in the most recent series of No Offence so she should be amazeballs in this too. Jamie Glover is to take over from Jamie Parker as Harry Potter, while Emma Lowndes will play his wife Ginny Potter. Theo Ancient will play their son, Albus Potter, replacing Sam Clemmett, and Thomas Aldridge is to play Ron Weasley, replacing Paul Thornley.
Helen Aluko plays Rose Granger-Weasley, and Draco Malfoy will be played by James Howard. Samuel Blenkin - making his professional debut - will play Scorpius Malfoy.
The lead cast are joined by new cast members David Annen, Ruthxjiah Bellenea, Danny Dalton, Leah Haile, Rupert Henderson, Elizabeth Hill, April Hughes, James McGregor, Sarah Miele, Jordan Paris, James Phoon, Henry Rundle, Ged Simmons, Mark Theodore, Gideon Turner and Ed White.
Original cast members who will continue include Nicola Alexis, Rosemary Annabella, Phoebe Austen, Annabel Baldwin, Jabez Cheeseman, Morag Cross, Esme Grace, Lowri James, Martin Johnston, Alfred Jones, Barry McCarthy, Sandy McDade, Tom Mackley, Harrison Noble, Ben Roberts, Nuno Silva, Hope Sizer and Joshua Wyatt.
The new cast take over on 24 May, with the current cast having their final performance on 21 May.