Elf the Musical – Review – Sheffield Lyceum
By Helen Johnston, November 2021
Elf has become as much a part of the Christmas ritual for many families as shopping for presents and decorating the tree.
Like it or not, the festive season is already in full swing with lights twinkling in many cities , tinsel in all the shops, and Christmas markets springing up everywhere.
So it’s no surprise that Elf the Musical is on in Sheffield, getting the season off to a merry start.
It’s an amateur production from STOS Theatre Company, but you would hardly know it. Apart from a few minor stumbles over lines, probably down to first night nerves, the show was slick and colourful.
For anyone who hasn’t seen Elf the movie in the past 18 years (where have you been?) the story centres around Buddy, an elf who discovers he’s human.
After living happily with Santa and the other elves at the North Pole all his life, he is suddenly sent off to look for his birth father in New York City.
The irrepressible Buddy is convinced that his dad will be the world’s best and he sets off with joy in his heart and a song on his lips. What he actually discovers is a dad who is stressed and unhappy at work, a young stepbrother who doesn’t believe in Santa, and a city full of people with no Christmas spirit.
But you can’t keep a good man, or elf, down. Buddy sets about spreading that much-needed Christmas cheer and transforming his new-found family’s life. He also picks up a girlfriend along the way.
Richard Granger as Buddy was full of fun and his comedy wig and gangly body language was perfect for this innocent-abroad character whose never-failing good nature eventually works its miracle on those he meets.
Richard’s real-life wife Katie Granger played Buddy’s love interest Jovie, the woman he meets working in a department store Santa’s Grotto.
Dad Walter Hobbs, played by Andrew Hibbert, was fittingly grumpy and world-weary, while his cheerful wife Emily, played by Louise Walker did her best to get him to focus more on his family.
The sets looked good and there was a special moment towards the end when Father Christmas took to his sleigh. The vibrant costumes and energetic dances got everyone smiling and there was appreciative applause and whooping from a full house.
Christmas has officially begun.