Maybe I’m just an old softie. Okay, yes, let’s admit it, I am. I’m also a lifelong believer in the restorative power of Christmas music which, like Katrina and the Waves’ “Walkin’ on Sunshine”, is my go-to Spotify choice if I’m feeling down – never mind if it’s a July heatwave, sleigh bells have been known to ring chez Paddock.
So how can I not be enticed by a zealously seasonal show like Elf the Musical? It’s catchiest tune, with its does-what-it-says-on-the-tin “A Christmas Song”, exhorts us all to:
“Just sing a Christmas song
It’s like magic if things go wrong.”
What’s not to love here? Certainly, Ben Forster as Buddy the Elf is adorable (far more so than Will Ferrell in the film version); the rest of the company are well-drilled pros (with particular stand-outs from Jennie Dale and Jessica Martin, respectively, the PA and wife of Buddy’s workaholic dad, played with memorable grumpiness by Joe McGann); and for all the negative press about high ticket prices, you can clearly see on the stage where the money’s going, even before Santa’s sleigh takes off (a nice coup de theatre).
I tweeted on the night that you’d have to be a Grinch not to leave full (at least half full?) of the Christmas spirit. Well, there are a few Grinches out there!
— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) November 5, 2015
Reviews and ticket prices aside, this show has generated more column inches thanks to the casting of Kimberley Walsh as Buddy’s love interest Jovie, and the attendance of her former Girls Aloud bandmates at the opening. I’ve rounded up key coverage below.
Catch up on all the social from the show and cast
Elf is also the first musical I’ve attended since launching my new theatre media venture, Stage Faves. Check out the show page where, amongst other things, you’ll find full Twitter listings for the principal cast – and much else. Lots of jollity.