Each Christmas, regular as clockwork we dig out our Elf DVD, snuggle up on the sofa and really get in the mood for Christmas. It is my favourite Christmas film by far and one we all love to watch together as a family. But would the Elf the Musical version live up to our expectations?
Based on the 2003 hit film starring Will Ferrell; Elf is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas.
Elf The Musical stars TV and West End star Ben Forster as Buddy and former Atomic Kitten Liz McClarnon as Jovie. Joe McGann stars as Walter and Jessica Martin as Emily Hobbs, not forgetting Louis Emerick as Santa. There are a trio of local boys playing the role of Michael too.
Ben Forster as Buddy fills the stage with energy, managing to channel some of the personality of Buddy the Elf from the film, whilst putting his own spin on the character. Atomic Kitten star Liz McClarnon as Jovie is in excellent voice throughout, with a spot on accent and flawless performance.
From the start the stage is busy with the ensemble, first as a group of little-legged toy making elves, then crowds of New York shoppers, to the staff of Walter Hobbs office. They’re all fantastic and help to bring warmth, rhythm and humour to the production. Deb played by Lori Haley Fox especially stands out, putting in a performance full of humour.
The set is lavish, beautifully festive and almost constantly changing in this fast paced production. The musical set pieces are well done, though I was expecting the musical to end with the crowd singing Santa Claus Is Coming to Town like it does in the film, which is a bit of a shame. However, it does end with a happy ever after; a snowstorm and Santa’s sleigh floating off across the streets of Salford.
We loved it, my 7 year old was transfixed throughout and has talked of virtually nothing else since. It’s like the film, but quite different in many ways. Some aspects of the film I missed; but the singing, dancing and the warmth of the performances made up for everything. It’s a firm thumbs up from us, we loved it and would happily go again and again.
What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than to see Elf The Musical at The Lowry! Get your tickets now, it’s bound to be incredibly popular!