Previewed 24 October 2015, Opened 5 November 2015, Closed 2 January 2016 at the Dominion Theatre in London
The West End premiere of Elf the Musical in London for Christmas 2015.
Based on the film, Elf the Musical is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas.
The cast features Ben Forster as 'Buddy', Kimberley Walsh as 'Jovie', Joe McGann as 'Walter Hobbs' and Jessica Martin as 'Emily Hobbs' with Jennie Dale as 'Deb', Mark McKerracher as 'Santa' and Graham Lappin as 'Store Manager'. This production comes into London's West End following a Christmas season in December 2014 at the Theatre Royal Plymouth and the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin - Ben Forster, Joe McGann and Jessica Martin are all reprising their roles for this West End staging.
Musical by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin with book by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin. Directed and choreographed by Morgan Young with designs by Tim Goodchild, lighting by Tim Lutkin, video by Ian William Galloway and sound by Clement Rawling. Ben Forster recently played the role of 'Agustin Magaldi' in Bob Tomson and Bill Kenwright's revival of Evita (Dominion Theatre 2014), his other credits include La Cava (Victoria Palace Theatre 2000), and Joe McGann was recently seen in Jonathan Church's revival of Bertolt Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Duchess Theatre 2013).
When this production opened here at the Dominion Theatre in November 2015,Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail highlighted that "this is a big, professional musical, seamlessly engineered, targeted at the Christmas family market with relentless commercialism... Efficient, slick, even cynical: Elf is all these. I suppose it will be a success, but it left me a little cold." Ann Treneman in the Times wrote that "this is, truly, the Christmas cake of musicals. Director and choreographer Morgan Young and designer Tim Goodchild have thrown everything in... It has, in short, the magic that sends you out of the theatre smiling and singing." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times held that "there’s an infectious enjoyment to the proceedings." Neil Norman in the Daily Express described how "the slightly naff plot is bolstered by sharp details, funny dialogue and some surprisingly tough characterisations... It rips along like Santa’s sleigh with a following wind and Tim Goodchild’s sets are spectacular. Plus there is effective use of video... It is a Christmas treat." Paul Taylor in the Independent thought that "the show - with a buoyant, knowing score by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelen and a winkingly mischievous book by Thomas Meehan - strikes me as a ridiculous hoot: a silly, exhilarating and affectionately sharp satire of all those films and plays in which a parent thaws and bonds with a wayward child over a fraught holiday season." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph explained how "director and choreographer Morgan Young whisks things along with a spit of polish and spot of tap-dancing. The sets - with nice projected simulations of Manhattan - have a gift-wrapped, tinselly quality. Corners haven't been cut unless for comic effect... This is Dickens's tale of Scrooge revisited for the age of workaholics anonymous." Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard said "it's a charming evening's entertainment for children of all ages. To start with, it looks a million dollars... The songs, by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin, are nicely catchy, rarely a given in a new musical."
"Discover your inner elf, winks the poster for Elf, the musical of the fabulously successful Will Ferrell movie. My easily impressed inner elf is always up for some festive fun, the sparklier the better. Unfortunately it remained stubbornly uncharmed by this instantly forgettable, generic hotch-potch, seemingly cobbled together from threads and patches of better stories – A Christmas Carol, Peter Pan, Annie and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to name but a few... Wrapped up like every Christmas show you've ever seen, it comes with a Christmas message: 'Think of the joy you'll bring if you just close your eyes and sing.' Alas, this is sabotaged because the lyrics are too silly and the melodies too mushily insipid... Fortunately, Ben Forster shines as the unsnubbable, bouncy, goofball Buddy, a four-year-old innocent trapped in an adult body – and an elf suit." The Mail on Sunday
"Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh sings beautifully as unlucky-inlove Jovie. But it's Ben Forster as Buddy who steals the show with his boundless energy and superb vocals. Snowy scenes, Santa's flying sleigh, tap dancing elves and laugh-outloud jokes will charm even the most cynical non-believers." The Sunday Mirror
"This amiably idiotic musical is based on the 2003 Will Ferrell movie about Buddy, a human raised by Santa's elves and arriving in New York to find his long-lost dad. At Christmas time... It's tirelessly jolly, but hardly a classic. Sweet and syrupy, it's all a bit eggnog. The score is mostly swing with added sleigh bells, but the book is a blunt-edged tour of Manhattan tourist spots, and generally ho-ho-hopeless. Still, a talented cast give it their most in Morgan Young's efficient production, which breaks out the candy stripes, tinsel and tap dance at every opportunity." The Sunday Times
The musical Elf in London at the Dominion Theatre previewed from 24 October 2015, opened on 5 November 2015 and closed on 2 January 2016.