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.
ELF features a book by Tony Award winners Thomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray) and Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone), with songs by Tony Award nominees Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer).
Starring TV and West End ‘Superstar’ Ben Forster reprising his role as Buddy alongside Liz McClarnon as Jovie, Louis Emerick as Santa Claus, Joe McGann as Walter and Jessica Martin as Emily Hobbs.
Lindsay Harris and her daughter, Neve, went to review Elf for us on Tuesday 28th November 2017 at The Lowry, Salford Quays. This is what they had to say about the festive production…
Elf is my favourite Christmas film, so much so that I’ve been banned from watching it, so I was very excited to hear the stage show was coming to Manchester this year. However, I know I’m not the only one thinking this, “How could anyone compare with Will Ferrell?” So on a very cold and festive night this week, I went with my daughter to find out…
I hadn’t looked at the cast list beforehand and was pleased to see that Joe McGann was playing Walter Hobbs, Buddy’s dad. I like his work and he portrayed Walter just perfectly. Liz McClarnon from Atomic Kitten was Jovi, another great casting, as she has a lovely voice and pulled off the attitudey but likeable Jovi flawlessly. Santa was another well known face – Brookside’s Louis Emerick and he surprised me by being a great Santa. I’ll let him off for the joke about Liverpool beating Manchester United.
Buddys’ brother Michael was played by Lochlan White and he was a very confident performer. The only child in the cast, he really shone in his part and his solo song was amazing.
Now the big one – Yes, Ben Forster was fantastic, he played Buddy with every bit as much enthusiasm as Will Ferrell. He had us all laughing with his beautifully childlike excitement. He is a perfect Buddy.
The audience were all highly amused at the elves at the North Pole and their comical walk was the source of much laughter.
The sets on the show were amazing and the use of a screen in the background is a clever touch. The set for the inside of Macy’s at Christmas are spectacular with a huge Christmas tree and a whole truckload of sparkly tinsel. If you don’t feel festive when you arrive, you certainly will when you see the stage.
The show itself wasn’t as close to the film script as I had expected. The general story is the same but there are different scenes added and obviously there were scenes not included. The stage show was made more family friendly as the film is probably targeted at a slightly older audience. With the addition of the songs, as well as some of the pantomime style double entendres, this stage production is a real family favourite for everyone young or old.
The big finale is what makes Elf so magical but I won’t give it away. You will leave feeling Sparkle Jolly Twinkle Jingling and super festive. The best way to spread Christmas cheer? Take the family to see Elf this year.
The only thing I’d change about Elf, as I do enjoy a good sing-a-long, I think it would have been nice if the song needed to help Santa on his way, was one the we’d know so we could all have joined in. I think they missed a trick there. It’s a really lovely show though and the audience gave a standing ovation. It’s definitely one to take your family to enjoy.
Score 8/10 ****
Lindsay Harris (Mum) Trusty Reviewer from Ramsbottom, Lancashire
Elf the musical was an amazing show and the sets were absolutely beautiful, really christmassy.
Ben Forster did a brilliant job playing Buddy, he was really funny and played the character well.
Liz McClarnon also did a really good job being Jovie, she had an amazing voice. Lachlan White who played Michael on the day we went was brilliant, he was very confident.
The best bit was the finale, it really got us into the christmas spirit, it was so magical. I wont ruin it by telling you what happens though.
Score 8/10 ****
Neve Harris (Daughter) Trusty Reviewer from Ramsbottom, Lancashire
Mother’s Score – 8/10
Daughter’s Score – 8/10
Total Score – 16/20 ****
Elf – The Musical is on at The Lowry, Salford Quays until Sunday 14th January 2018.
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