In 50-ish Words

Elf: The Musical - as bad as it sounds

Scott Bilbe
Scott Bilbe (former) Senior Creative Producer

Who doesn’t love a classic Christmas move, right? And Will Ferrell’s 2003 hit ‘Elf’ is a prime example. A Christmas staple that is repeated year after year alongside every other festive favourite, from the good (Die Hard) to the bad (Home Alone 3) chugging along in the background whilst we sit at home, stuffing our faces, being merry.

So when RadiumOne took some of us lucky folk at Initiative for a festive outing to see the Dominion Theatre’s ‘Elf: The Musical’, I had high hopes. Unfortunately the show pales into insignificance when compared to the film’s longstanding charm and magic.

We are spoilt these days with films that are aimed and marketed at children, yet are just as appealing to adults. (I’m looking at you Disney Pixar.) These stories blend intelligent writing with fun and interesting characters that are full of magic, clever dialogue and great visuals that transport us to our happy place and leave us wanting more.

After being revealed as the most expensive musical to hit the West End this year, ‘Elf: The Musical’ had a lot to live up to. Sadly, though, the dialogue feels lazy and rushed, there is no intrigue, the plot is bland and simplistic and the varying age-appropriate comedy lacks any conviction or, quite simply, humour.

Ben Forster as our main man, Buddy, does a decent job of delivering his lines enthusiastically throughout, and his energy is infectious, but his love interest, Jovie, played by Kimberley Walsh (of Girls Aloud fame) feels distant and cold. While her voice is head and shoulders above the rest of the pack, her overall performance lacks any depth and you come away feeling underwhelmed.

All said and done the show didn’t match up to the wonderful company provided by our generous hosts, though the mulled wine did help ease the experience. I even stayed awake during the whole performance - which is more than can be said for everyone in the group…

As the show's tagline suggests, ‘discover your inner elf’ and save yourself a few jingle bills. Buy the Elf DVD from Amazon.