Over 1,500 theatregoers, many dressed as spellbinding characters, stood and cheered as the first part of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child ended at the Palace Theatre in London on Tuesday night (07Jun16).

The preview marked the first time an official Harry Potter story had been presented on stage. Part two of Jack Thorne's play, which is set 19 years after the end of J.K. Rowling's seventh and final Harry Potter book, will open for previews on Thursday (09Jun16), but the show won't launch officially until 30 July (16).

Fans from around the world, who were lucky enough to score tickets for the first night, were handed badges with slogans urging them to keep the show's plot to themselves as they left the theatre. Author Rowling has joined the producers of Cursed Child in begging theatre fans and Potter devotees alike not to reveal details and spoil the show for others yet to see it.

Most of the audience members polled outside the theatre after the show raved about the drama and revealed it was almost perfect - the only glitch coming when a live owl flying around the auditorium failed to return to its handler.

Prior to the preview, Potter creator Rowling tweeted a good luck message to Anthony Boyle, who plays Draco Malfoy's son Scorpius in the play. Malfoy was Harry Potter's nemesis in the book series and films.

The show is already a huge box office success - 175,000 tickets were snapped up in a day when they went on sale in October (16), and the Thorne's script is already topping bestseller lists even though it won't be published until after the play's official opening.