Tuesday, May 28

Elf The Musical – Sheffield Lyceum

What a wonderful way to start the festive season, with more cheese than you would see on any Cheeseboard at Christmas! Elf – The Musical is based on the original film Elf written by David Berenbaum, staring Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf. The musical version does include a few changes from the film script, but its essence and Christmas spirit is very much alive. However, I did miss the snowball fight in the park though! (One of my favourite scenes).

If anyone is unfamiliar with the storyline, we follow the story of Buddy, who is brought up in Christmastown by Santa and his elves. After crawling into Santa’s sack as a baby, Buddy is mistakenly transported to the North Pole. We join the story as it becomes evident that Buddy has a few ‘special’ qualities that set him aside from the rest of the elves, most notably his human size. Santa explains to buddy that his father is alive and on the naughty list, living in New York City and Buddy embarks on a journey to find him and spread some much-needed Christmas Cheer to an ever-increasing world of none believers.

STOS Theatre Company, although absent from the stage since their production of Shrek 2019 have been entertaining the people of Sheffield for over 120 years. After seeing the 2019 production I knew I was in for a treat and Elf – The Musical did not disappoint! To use the words ‘Amateur Theatre’ is almost an insult when uttered in the same breath as STOS but it must be said that if this is ‘amateur theatre’, the Performing Arts industry is in a very good place, even after the trials and tribulations of the last 2 years. Elf – The Musical is directed by Mark Harris and assisted by Jill Beckett, with choreography by Claire Harriott and Musical Direction by Tom Owen, this team collectively brought a very slick show to the stage.

The scenery was represented with moveable desks and sofas and included some splendid backdrops and flown in windows. This was an actor’s show and the exuberance on stage did not require elaborate set.

The lead characters of Buddy and Jovie are played by two different performers on consecutive performances. I have the absolute pleasure of seeing the newly wed Richard Granger and Katie Granger. I can only liken Richard Granger’s performance of Buddy the Elf to watching a young Lee Evans, his facial expressions took on a rubber quality that were mesmerising to see. This young man was every bit the centre of attention of the production and not for one second did his quality performance falter or wane. With a beautifully strong singing voice and all the innocence and infectious excitement one human elf can muster, the audience were whisked away by his sheer exuberance! Well done young man, impressive. Katie Granger as Buddy’s love interest Jovie, was suitably watchable and the connection between the two Grangers was obvious to see, every bit a partnership, from sarcasm to joy. This young lady has great stage presence, and I must mention she’s a great tapper.

There were some stellar performances by cast members that really need a mention. Steve Mather’s Santa Claus was simply… perfect. Andrew Stansall as the Manager was very funny, I really loved his performance. Louise Walker as Emily Hobbs has a really strong voice with wonderful diction. Helen Kempton as Chadwick caught my eye; for all the right reasons, every time she was on stage. Oliver Walker as Michael Hobbs is a very talented young man and I look forward to seeing him in the future.

This production really showed a solid team, with the whole cast and crew fully engaged and utilised, a great example is the opening number ‘Christmastown’ which really set the scene and is hilarious. Also, watch out for the quick-change number it’s a wonderful surprise. 

Elf – The Musical is playing at the Sheffield Lyceum until Saturday 20th November, if you can get a ticket don’t miss this, that ‘Sparklejollytwinklejingley’ warm feeling is contagious! No spoiler alert- but you know, Santa really does fly! A wonderful family show to get you right in the festive mood. https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/events/elf-the-musical

Reviewer: Tracey Bell

Reviewed: 16th November 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★