268-269 Tottenham Court Road, Fitzrovia, London W1T 7AQ 0345 200 7982
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Ends 6th January 2024.
Buddy is different from the other elves. Santa allows him to visit New York city to discover exactly how... and why...
Based on the 2003 film, this family show returns for a second season at the same venue, in the hit brand new production first seen over the 2022 holiday season.
(seen at the afternoon preview performance on 19th November 2022). Some actors have now left the cast.
“The collective gasps of wonder from the children when it snowed on stage at @elfmusicalLDN this afternoon is what theatre must always be about” is what the monkey tweeted shortly after returning from the show. Tickets are not cheap, yet even the most expensive stalls were full of very young families eager to see ‘live’ a treasured Christmas film.
This new production of the show rewards that faith. Newly formed producing arm of Eventim, the ticketing company, have created a respectably lavish staging.
Tim Goodchild is allowed several detailed sets – the green office is particularly effective and Ian William Galloway’s video projections fill the gaps when the stage is required for dance.
Liam Steel is the standout creative, his choreography full of hugely inventive moments, the file tree being the most memorable.
For director Philip Wm. McKinley, the challenge lies in the mild early pace of Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin’s book. The show takes at least 40 minutes of setting up before the second office scene really engages the audience.
The pace may pick up a little as previews continue and the cast play the early scenes more quickly, but the monkey attributes it more to the show’s script. While there are some clever updated references, it remains for the cast to build in the humour for the most part, with few genuinely comic lines.
As Buddy, Simon Lipkin works incredibly hard to engage the entire audience – he is rewarded (his ducking the descending final curtain to wave to an enraptured young fan is a credit to him both as a performer and person) and no doubt will find even more ways to exploit the physical humour as the run continues.
Love interest Jovie (Georgina Castle) also has to wait for her big moment. “Never Fall In Love (With An Elf)” is worth the wait as she holds centre stage alone. Her charisma with Lipkin should grow as they work together; the connection is there.
Disconnected emotionally, Buddy’s father Walter Hobbs and wife Emily (Tom Chambers and Rebecca Lock) are already a double-act. Chambers is surprisingly meek in early scenes, but all becomes clear with his later change of heart in a well-timed slow transition.
Lock fills the role of mother perfectly, but in scenes with young Frankie Treadaway as son Michael she is mostly upstaged. The young song-and-dance man gives the experienced professional a real run for her money in both numbers together.
Small notes for Nicholas Pound as both Santa and later company boss Mr Greenway – very much contrasting roles. As Tangerine PA Deb, Kim Ismay is a neat interface between office and home. Dermot Canavan as the singing store manager, Kyle Cox selling (as is later admitted on the cart, just hot-dogs) and Francis Foreman’s running gag as Fake Santa are also notable.
Annoyingly, the show still hasn’t fixed the hole made by reindeer in the story. They are referred to early as being targeted by drunken elves, then said to be retired due to animal rights protests before being wished for to power the sleigh. A minor gripe that becomes a real irritant.
The stage version can also never match the affection for the movie, nor its slickness of photography and editing. What this version can and does do is exactly what it should – make children gasp at the magic of real snow on an indoor stage, and create new seasonal memories for all to cling on to.
That’s sparkejollytwinkjingley enough for anybody.
The monkey advises checking performance times on your tickets and that performances are happening as scheduled, before travelling.
Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm
Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Runs 2 hours 30 minutes approximately.
THERE ARE NO PERFORMANCES OF ANY PRODUCTION ON 25th DECEMBER 2023.
During the "Holiday Season" from 18th December 2023 until 7th January 2024, the above schedules will vary.
Charts showing scheduled performances during this period are available using the links below:
For Monday 18th December 2023 until Sunday 24th December 2023, click here.
For Monday 25th December 2023 until Sunday 31st December 2023, click here.
For Monday 1st January until Sunday 7th January 2024, click here.
Theatres use "dynamic pricing." Seat prices change according to demand for a particular performance. Prices below were compiled as booking originally opened. Current prices are advised at time of enquiry.
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