Theatre Review: ELF: THE MUSICAL – The Lowry, Salford

The cast of ELF THE MUSICAL UK Tour

Ben Forster, Liz McClarnon and the cast of ELF: THE MUSICAL. Photo Credit: James Everett Photography

Charming, colourful and packed full of Christmas cheer, ELF: THE MUSICAL boasts enough joy and spirit to make even Scrooge smile

It may still be November but it Christmas has come early at The Lowry as ELF: THE MUSICAL finally starts its seven week run over the festive period.

Based on the 2003 hit film starring Will Ferrell, ELF: THE MUSICAL tells the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s sack and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities force him to face the truth and embark on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity. The musical ran both on Broadway and in London’s West End, becoming the fastest selling show at the Dominion Theatre since its opening in 1929.

Charming, colourful and packed full of Christmas cheer, ELF: THE MUSICAL boasts enough joy and spirit to make even the Scroogiest Scrooge smile. From Tim Goodchild’s suitably spectacular set to Matthew Sklar and Chad Berguelin’s toe-tappingly good score, ELF: THE MUSICAL takes the charm and comedy of the original film and rises it to another level. There’s also plenty of special effects to keep the Christmas magic high including a levitating sledge which flies out over the front stalls.

Buddy (Ben Forster) & Santa (Louis Emerick) in ELF: THE MUSICAL

Buddy (Ben Forster) & Santa (Louis Emerick) in ELF: THE MUSICAL. Photo Credit: James Everett Photography

TV and West End ‘Superstar’ Ben Forster reprises his role as Buddy, bounding around the stage with energy and enthusiasm. Balancing chaos and containment, Forster’s goofy charm, vulnerability and spirit makes him an instant hit with the audience and his vocal performance is flawless as he sings each and every song with total conviction.

Liz McClarnon is equally excellent as Buddy’s love interest Jovie. McClarnon’s warm vocal tones blend well with Forster’s, with the former Atomic Kitten star particularly showing off her credentials in her show-stopping number NEVER FALL IN LOVE (WITH AN ELF) in Act II.

Elsewhere, there is staunch support from Joe McGann as the Scrooge-like Walter Hobbs and local lad Riley White also shines as Buddy’s brother Michael Hobbs.

While ELF’s commercial, even cynical sheen, may not be to everyone’s taste, the show successfully taps the essential spirit of Christmas, particularly the need to connect with our families. You’ll also be pleased to hear that The Lowry does not have the £240 price tag that the show had at the West End, with ticket prices starting from a reasonable £25.50.

If you’re a fan of the original film, you’re sure to enjoy ELF: THE MUSICAL. A holiday treat for all the family.

(5 / 5)

ELF: THE MUSICAL runs at The Lowry until 14 January 2018.

About Donna

Donna is the Editor of Frankly, My Dear UK. By day, she is a digital marketing whizz, by night she reviews film, theatre and music for a wide range of publications including WhatsonStage, The Public Reviews and ScreenRelish. Loves Shakespeare, prosecco and Formula 1