Centenary Theatre Company’s Director Dan Grimes must have thought all his Christmas’s had come at once when Dean Callow walked in an auditioned for the part of Buddy! As all I can say is WOWSER as I am sure Dan Grimes did too, what a fabulous charismatic actor Dean Callow is, he has as much energy as one human being can possibly have without spontaneous combusting! Dean Callow was definitely on fire on opening night, unfortunately the programme does not tell me anything about Dean (or any of the other cast members), so I do not know any of his previous theatre credits etc. However, I would recommend this show on Dean Callow’s performance alone as he is the perfect Buddy the Elf, who will keep you entertained throughout the evening with his Elf moves, perfect comedy timings and pitch perfect vocals. Callow’s is the finest leading man I have ever witnessed at The Brindle Theatre as he held the show together with his spectacular presentation of Buddy the Elf, his execution of the script and musical numbers where awe-inspiring, this young man absolutely blew me away as a theatre critic.
Elf is the perfect musical for the festive season with its feel-good factor and mayhem, I am sure everyone is familiar with the story of Buddy the elf who mistakenly crawled into Santa’s sack as a baby and is brought up by the elves in the North Pole. After outgrowing all his peers and recognising he isn’t the perfect toy maker Santa tells him of his true parentage. Buddy then sets off to New York in search of his biological father only to find he’s on the ‘naughty list’. Buddy as usual causes mayhem but in doing so finds his family, love, and even helps Santa by spreading the true meaning of Christmas!
I have been privileged enough to review quite a few of the Centenary Theatre Company productions over the years and there has always been a consistent feeling of family, togetherness, and a united community, last night being no exception. The Chair Ria Hall stated that this journey had been more challenging than previous productions due to the original licence being given in 2020 and the pandemic hitting which impacted them in more ways than one, financial implication being the greatest hurdle. However after throwing everything at the show to make it happen they have created another fabulous family production worthy of any professional stage.
Each and every member of the cast have clearly put their heart and souls into their roles and delivered a top-class performance on opening night. Jessie Scotson played Jovie, Buddy’s love interest with elegance and perfect stage presence, I especially enjoyed her rendition of ‘Never Fall in Love (with an Elf)’.
Claire Grimes (Emily Hobbs) and Samuel Grimes (Michael Hobbs) matched perfectly as Buddy’s Stepmother and half-brother and delivered a heart-warming performance. Team Sparkle has set the bar high for Team Jolly that’s for sure as all truly sparkled throughout their roles as little Elves.
However, a show is not a show without the Production Team – huge credit goes to the set design, costume department, sound, and lighting crew, but most of all Choreographer Lisa-Ann Jones for creating such a magnificent display of dance and movement throughout the production and Musical Director Simon Pickup for the phenomenal orchestra that played flawlessly during the show.
I would highly recommend this stupendous festive production from Centenary Theatre Company, so don’t be a bah humbug grab the kids, grandparents, friends, and family and go see Elf the Musical at The Brindley theatre before it’s too late.
The show runs until Saturday the 19th of November at The Brindley, tickets are available from the Box Office or online https://tickets.thebrindley.org.uk/
Well done to all involved in the production and I wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Reviewer: Katie Leicester
Reviewed: 15th November 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★