THEATRE REVIEW: Elf starring Ben Forster & Kimberley Walsh

WORTH A LOOK?: ***1/2

WHERE: Dominion Theatre

WHEN: 10/11, runs to 2/1/16

It is unfortunate for the West End’s highest charging musical that publicity has centred on its £240 top-priced tickets.

Cheaper tickets are, of course, available (see link below) and it is the visual spectacle at the climax of this production which lingers longest in our minds afterwards and shouldn’t fail to bring a tear to the eye of the most cynical audience member.

Elf is a new musical based on the 2003 Will Ferrell film of the same name and is the story of Buddy the Elf who is raised by elves in Christmas Town after his mother’s death. On discovering he is human, Buddy (played with much charm and enthusiasm by Ben Forster, who we saw most recently in the Rocky Horror Show) travels to New York to find his workaholic father (Joe McGann, convincingly transformed eventually by his newfound son).

The show has several flaws: the first half is too long, the music could be stronger and Buddy’s love interest (the endearing Kimberley Walsh) deserves a bigger role. However, its second half opens with its best numbers, one sung by unhappy Santas and Walsh’s stirring Never Fall In Love With An Elf.

There’s also hilarious support from Jennie Dale who works alongside Buddy’s father. The second half utterly redeems the first and the impressive staging proves itself the show’s real star with the final uplifting image.

The message? Don’t be too bah humbug about the top-priced tickets, go for the cheaper ones and there is still much Christmas cheer to be had here.

  • Tickets here. Picture via Facebook courtesy Dominion Theatre.
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham

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