Elf at the Dominion Theatre
The gift of the Christmas spirit has been materialised through the medium of musical theatre. Elf is, quite literally, Christmas brought to life. There’s storytelling, crackling fires, whisky, bad (and good) jokes, red faces, twinkling eyes and enough singing and dancing to convey a real sense of festive merriment to even the most hard-hearted of people. Based on the 2003 movie of the same name, the musical includes no major deviations from the original story that will offend or confuse people. Instead it opts for a truly indulgent, easy-watching experience.
As a baby, Buddy crawled into Santa’s sack of gifts one Christmas Eve and was accidentally transported to the North Pole, where he was to grow into a fully grown man under the care of the elves. A slip of the tongue from an elf one day as Christmas once again draws near and Buddy learns of his true identity. At once Buddy endeavours to go to New York to find his real dad, but upon arrival he discovers his father is not of a type known in Christmas Town. Despite his own family troubles, however, Buddy is needed in New York to help Santa carry out Christmas. Rather like a modern day Jesus, Buddy the Elf must help, inspire and lead the people to happiness.
The story benefits massively from the musical form. A live orchestra generates a sound cloud of Christmas gaiety and the singing recalls the basic ethos of Christmas spirit – that of shared soulful interactions and collective happiness. The set itself looks like one giant toyshop, with 1950s dollhouse style decor and cannily designed set pieces.
Ben Forster (ITV’s Superstar) is spectacularly on point as Buddy the Elf. He swings in and out of dry humour and childish naivety, whilst never once dropping that loving, foolish demanour of Buddy the Elf. There really is something for everyone to enjoy here. The melodrama has a touch of irony and wisdom to humour the more adult at the same time as indulging children’s thirst for extreme festivity. It’s a blast of genuine Christmas cheer but with a vaguely satirical edge that also laughs at itself. Elf absolutely sparkles with a truly infectious Christmas joy.
Elf is on at the Dominion Theatre until 2nd January 2016, for further information or to book tickets visit here.