Elf The Musical ★★★★★ Dominion Theatre | Nov 14, 2022 - Jan 7, 2023

One of the loveliest Christmas stories to come along in some years is back in a musical version, and it completely delivers a wonderfully fanciful theatrical experience. The story of Buddy, a human baby who accidentally gets raised as an elf and who then goes to New York City to find his birth parents, was a huge cinematic hit, and the theatrical treatment of it lives up to the film's high standard for family entertainment. The big production numbers are suitably impressive. There's roller skating, snow falling and a sleigh flying. If these don't inspire a sense of fun and Christmas spirit one would have to be as grumpy as Buddy's human father. Tom Chambers plays the wonderfully irritable and overworked Walter Hobbs, and he is beautifully matched by Rebecca Lock as his long suffering wife, Emily. However, the show belongs to Simon Lipkin as Buddy. He manages to capture the would-be elf's childlike naïveté without ever becoming cloying. It is not an easy turn for an adult, but Lipkin pulls it off. He remains charming, and his innocence rings true even when he delivers some very funny lines which he supposedly misses the import of. Georgina Castle who plays the love interest of the child-man, Buddy, also deserves kudos for successfully managing what could also be a potentially awkward role. The relationship story manages to work within the imaginative context that is set up, and the audience becomes completely caught up in Buddy's dilemmas. Much of this is due to Matthew Sklar's music and Chad Beguelin's lyrics which are suitably beguiling. They move the story along and reinforce the whimsical ambiance of the narrative. Full marks also for Liam Steel's inventive choreography, and Tim Goodchild's set and costume design. We particularly liked the dance of the elves. The only quibble we might have would be that some of the more obscure American cultural references could be missed by the audience, and the addition of a few English allusions just seemed awkward. Nevertheless, we would say the Christmas spirit becomes totally irresistible for anyone who shares the adventure of this thoroughly delightful Elf.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Mark Senior.

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When, Where, Getting there:
  • Nov 14, 2022 - Jan 7, 2023
  • Mon - Sat: 7:30 pm, Thu & Sat: 2:30 pm. No matinees Nov 17 & 24
  • Performance schedule varies during weeks beginning Dec 19, Dec 26 & Jan 2
  • Dominion Theatre
  • Nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road
  • https://www.nederlander.co.uk/whats-on/elf

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