Northern Ireland

Anthony Boyle: Belfast actor enjoying rave reviews in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Anthony Boyle
Image caption Anthony Boyle's performance as Scorpius Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has won critical acclaim in the London theatre circuit

He is the young actor from west Belfast who is a star in the biggest stage hit in London's West End.

Anthony Boyle has been getting rave reviews for his role in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre.

The 22-year-old plays Scorpius Malfoy, the son of Harry's old adversary Draco Malfoy.

"His kid falls a bit far from the tree and is a bit nicer than his father was when he was at school," said Anthony.

The play moves the story on 19 years from the end of JK Rowling's final novel in the series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Image caption Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has been playing to sold-out audiences at the Palace Theatre

The original characters, including Harry and Draco, now have children of their own.

"The play focuses on the story of Harry and his relationship with his son, Albus, and there's a bit of conflict there," Anthony said.

"And it picks up with my character and his father and there's also a bit of conflict there."

'Stand out performance'

Albus and Scorpius' developing friendship is at the heart of the play, presenting Anthony with his first major starring role.

Image copyright Manuel Harlan
Image caption Anthony Boyle dons a blond wig to play schoolboy wizard Scorpius Malfoy
Image copyright Manuel Harlan
Image caption The play is set almost 20 years after the end of the Harry Potter novels, and focuses on a new generation of young wizards

After months of rehearsals and previews, the play opened just two weeks ago, and the reviews for it - and Anthony - have been glowing.

The Observer said he had "a marvellous future," while Metro said he delivered the "stand out performance" in the show.

'Red carpet'

By any standards, Anthony has been on an incredible journey since last summer when he was performing in the Eastside arts festival in east Belfast.

"I was doing a one-man show called East Belfast Boy in Ballymac Friendship Centre," he recalled.

"We worked very closely with a lot of the lads from east Belfast about growing up and we constructed a show based on the hardships that they were going through. It was a really good show.

"Then I went back to drama school to finish third year, and then I got the audition for this.

"It's all happened so quickly, I haven't had the time to sit down and think about it."

Image caption Anthony Boyle told arts correspondent Robbie Meredith that his family in west Belfast have been 'blown away' by the success of the show

Like many children, Anthony and his brother were avid readers of the Harry Potter books.

"My dad would read them to me and my brother, and we'd get a chapter a night," he said.

"My favourite was the Prisoner of Azkaban with the big bird, it was great."

Anthony first became interested in drama at school, where he attended De La Salle College and then St Louise's Comprehensive College.

His family still live in west Belfast and have been over to see the show, so what did they think of it?

"They're not really connected to the arts, so they just see it as something that I go and do," he laughs.

"They take the mick out of me when the interviews and stuff come out.

"They came over to see the show on the gala night, so it was lovely to get my mum on the red carpet.

"They were so blown away with it, as they don't normally go to the theatre.

'Versatile actor'

"To see a show like this, which is one of the best shows ever, for one of your first theatre shows is just a treat."

Image copyright Manuel Harlan
Image caption Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is due to run at the Palace Theatre until the end of next year

Anthony is a versatile actor and will soon be appearing in the film The Journey as a young Ian Paisley.

However, those wanting to see him on stage in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child may have to be patient.

Forty tickets are made available every Friday, but other than that, the play is completely sold out until December 2017.

More on this story