Elf the Musical at the Dominion Theatre review – not good for the elf

Elf the Musical at the Dominion Theatre review – not good for the elf

T

his is an Elf warning: Elf the Musical isn’t very good. It jettisons most of what’s sly and delicate about the chic 2003 Christmas film on which it’s primarily based, in favour of sappy sentiment and bland songs.

It’s not Simon Lipkin’s fault that he can’t match Will Ferrell’s manically likeable, career-making display screen efficiency as Buddy, the excitable child-man raised as one in every of Santa’s elves and immediately transplanted to grouchy New York. Probably nobody may.

But although Philip Wm McKinley’s manufacturing has a vestige of festive attraction, the narrative is lackadaisical, the characters skinny and Liam Steel’s choreography sloppy. For Elf’s 2015 London premiere at this theatre, top-price tickets cost £240, then the highest ever in the West End. It’s frankly staggering that seats for this mediocre re-mounting nonetheless run to £195.

Writers Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin supply a pale imitation of the story written for the display screen by David Berenbaum and directed by Jon Favreau, reasonably than convincingly reimagining Elf for the stage. They prune the plot and reduce lots of Buddy’s antics – you received’t see him consuming chewing gum prised off a subway railing right here and the scene the place he by chance insults a children’s guide author who has restricted progress has maybe correctly been excised. It appears like the songs are there to fill gaps in the motion reasonably than rising naturally from it.

Mark Senior

Chad Begeulin’s lyrics spring the occasional wry shock. North Pole elves, performed by actors capering on their knees, sing of Buddy: “If he were any sweeter we would end up diabetic”. There’s Broadway bounce to the numbers Happy All the Time and The Story of Buddy, and jazzy truculence to Nobody Cares About Santa, sung by a rabble of disgruntled division retailer St Nicks in a Chinese restaurant. But most of Matthew Sklar’s score is forgettable.

Though set and costume designer Tim Goodchild supplies some putting centrepieces – a tapering Empire State Building, a double-dragon doorway for the restaurant – Santa’s realm and Manhattan are principally evoked by CGI animation by Ian William Galloway on a rear-stage display screen.

Lipkin has baggage of energy and wide-eyed zest but additionally a disturbingly Trumpish dollop of sculpted orange hair. Buddy’s makes an attempt to join to his irascible writer dad (Tom Chambers, picket) and his stepmom and stepbrother are skimpy and missing in pathos.

His relationship with toy-department elf Jovie (Georgina Castle) wants cautious dealing with, as she successfully falls for a toddler in a man’s body. Here she’s only a one-note grinch who improbably melts after temporary exposure to his innocence.

Lipkin and Castle sing properly sufficient. The ensemble fills the stage with verve however the large dance numbers lack finesse. I didn’t consider in Nicholas Pound’s lamely jocular Santa and I don’t in the end consider this present is something greater than a cynical moneymaker. Elf makes a disappointing begin to London theatre’s Christmas season.

Dominion Theatre, to January 7; buy tickets here

Source:standard.co.uk

Related Posts

Christmas theatre 2022: the best shows to book in London this festive period

Christmas theatre 2022: the best shows to book in London this festive period

It’s a Wonderful Life Danny Kaan The traditional James Stewart film principally is Christmas. Who doesn’t shed a tear at George Bailey being proven how horrible life in Bedford Falls…

Read more
New Sir David Attenborough BBC Earth Experience is set for London

New Sir David Attenborough BBC Earth Experience is set for London

B BC Earth is about to get an entire lot extra immersive as a ground-breaking new attraction named after the beloved factual collection is coming to London. Narrated by Sir…

Read more
Chef hopes to tantalise tastebuds of cancer patients with cost-efficient recipes

Chef hopes to tantalise tastebuds of cancer patients with cost-efficient recipes

A chef has created a free cookbook to help folks with cancer, who usually lose their sense of style, amid the cost-of-living disaster. Ryan Riley – who co-founded Life Kitchen,…

Read more