As soon as this show was announced with Kimberley Walsh as Jovie, I was beyond excited. I actually hadn’t even seen the film of Elf in full, I was just excited to know Kimberley would be heading back to the west-end and I loved the idea of a show that would be filled with festive spirit. Therefore I booked front row tickets back in July!
I watched the film a few days prior to the show, just so I was able to get the jist of the story and characters. I had also been playing the soundtrack since it’s release so I could continue to get to grips with the show. Therefore I had built up high hopes for the show, and I didn’t leave disappointed!
I honestly believe this is the perfect Christmas treat for all the family. It was so fun to see a wide ranged audience from kids with their parents, to adults dressed up with their friends feeling the festive cheer!
The story stayed rather true to the film, keeping the iconic phrases, but if anything it allowed you to explore the characters further and with the added bonus of great songs, dance routines and a few magical moments.
Which leads me onto the fact I thought the entire cast were brilliant. Ben Forster as Buddy was the driving force of the show, with him barely leaving the stage. He had great comedy moments, with brilliant expression and an amazing vocal range. While he lived up to the character of Buddy brilliantly, he made it completely his own and didn’t seem like a Will Ferrell copy which I deeply applaud him for.
Then there was Jennie Dale as Deb, who played an office worker, who was barely acknowledged in the film but was suddenly a character that became full of life in the show. She reminded me of a stagey Melissa McCarthy!
Finally there was Kimberley Walsh playing the sharp but sweet Jovie, who I am probably biased towards being a long-time fan, but again, she took elements of the film character but made it her own and through her comical song “Never Fall in Love (With an Elf)” you really got discover her true feelings towards Buddy.
As for the sets, I had seen some criticisms on the ‘lazy’ screen graphics as the backdrops, however I have to disagree, because I have seen that trick used in other huge shows and I believe it was still of great standard and I think it worked with the show, as it was showcase the north pole and the fast paced movements of New York. If this modernisation does put you off, there were still plenty of other exciting sets and props that made up for it. A highlight being the snow and Santa sleigh, both made it feel so authentically Christmas and I felt a warmth surge through my body, it sort of gave me a moment of childhood memory in that pure belief in the magic. It was truly touching.
If you are heading to London between now and the 2nd of January, I highly recommend this show, as it’s fun for all the family, will warm your heart, make you laugh out loud and force you to leave with a smile on your face wanting to spread Christmas cheer by singing out loud for all to hear!