Based on the 2003 family favourite movie starring Will Ferrell, Elf the Musical won’t fail to give you a good dose of Christmas cheer. For those who have never seen the film (shame on you), it tells the tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. With Santa’s permission, he embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father Hobbs, discover his true identity, and remind people of the true meaning of Christmas.
The stage show has been wowing audiences in the theatre since it opened in America in 2013 and two years later it came across the water for a successful West End run starring ITV Superstar winner Ben Forster and Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh.
Forster reprises his role as Buddy the Elf in this UK tour but has found himself another girl band member to play his love interest Jovie, Atomic Kitten’s Liz McClarnon.
Both are superb in their performances, Forster manages to make you forget how Ferrell made the film role famous and instead forges his own take on the excitable elf, oozing with an innocent happiness and an infectious fizz that can’t help but make you grin from ear to ear. Forster’s vocals are incredible and the musical theatre star, who has wowed audiences in the past as Jesus and Phantom, certainly delivers here…even if he is dressed head to toe in a green and red elf costume!
Joining Ben for the tour are two of his other original West End castmates Joe McGann and Jessica Martin who play husband and wife Mr and Mrs Hobbs. McGann provides the complete antithesis to Buddy and pulls off just the right amount of ‘Bah Humbug’ as the overworked Dad lacking Christmas spirit (and in need of a hug). Jessica Martin is also a joy to watch especially in her touching scenes with son Michael (Lochlan White). Together the pair perform two sweet numbers with talented White, who at just 11 years old, putting in a professional and polished performance which definitely sees him as one to watch out for in the future.
Elsewhere Morgan Young’s direction and choreography is impeccable creating big Hollywood style dance numbers that leave you mesmerised and feeling all fuzzy inside.
Olivier Award winner Tim Goodchild has created a stunning set design that takes you from a skyscraper to an ice-staking rink with a plethora of colourful costumes adding that extra festive cheer to the cast. New York is further brought to the Salford stage by Ian William Galloway’s fantastic projections of the Big Apple.
Elf the Musical has Christmas all wrapped up with tons of tinsel, Christmas trees, sparkly lights, and even snow! I won’t give the ending away but I will say it involves a Santa, a sleigh and so much Christmas magic that even Ebeneezer Scrooge’s heart would be warm by the end of it.
A ‘Buddy brilliant’ show you won’t want to miss!
ELF: The Musical runs at The Lowry, Salford until 14 January 2018