Based on the beloved 2003 New Line Cinema hit 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.
Buddy the Elf is determined to be the best he can be, whether that’s as a toymaker, a paper shredder or a big brother. Whether Ben Forester succeeds in any of his on stage roles, the audience will have to wait and see! One thing that can be guaranteed is Forester’s ability to get a packed theatre laughing in this third year in the role after having originated it in the West End. Forester and the rest of the cast members have honed the american accents so you’d be forgiven for thinking the whole team had travelled from the states. However some of their jokes feel a little misplaced and might not make a whole lot of sense for audiences not well versed in american pop culture.
The cast dance and sing through sets that glitter with true Hollywood excess and Christmas splendour, designed and produced by Olivier Award winner Tim Goodchild. You’ll love the awkward jigs of Shawanda and Charlie the Christmas Elves as much as the pure romance of Jovie and Buddy’s first kiss on the ice rink. However I think most would agree they need a hug after watching the sinister dance of the Santas directed and choreography by Morgan Young.
Everything about the show has been carefully constructed and is bound to make you cry, laugh and then cry again from laughing so hard. I must give particular mention to the beautiful partnership of Emily Hobbs (Jessica Martin) and Michael Hobbs (Lochlan White). Also to Deb, Mr Hobb’s secretary (Lori Hayley Fox) who had me spluttering on my drink with her cries to “screw weight watchers.” I’m certain I even saw her bring a twinkle Mr Hobbs’ eyes when he was at his most grumpy.
Elf is a real refreshment of the classic Christmas pantomime that won’t disappoint. If you’re lucky enough to catch it at the Lowry during its limited run, make sure to look out for the special appearance by family favourite, Mr Narwhal.