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How wonderful it was to be able to attend your production of ‘Elf’ last Friday and what an amazing start to the new season it proved to be.

I knew nothing at all about the musical and so had no idea if it was aimed mostly at children, but didn’t find it so. Yes certainly the story is like a children’s fairytale, obviously for the Christmas season, but the show itself deals with some undoubtedly adult situations. I really enjoyed it.

There’s no mention of stage set provider and I know that you usually design and make it yourselves so assume that you did this one too. The different scenes were simply depicted with the foreground changing from interiors to exterior and it worked very well. Props and furniture were suitable and the desks moved on and off stage easily for the office scenes. Santa’s moving sleigh surrounded by mist was a memorable moment. 

The opening few minutes set the scene beautifully and Mike made a perfect Santa Claus.

Owen Brasted was excellent. He was bursting with energy the whole time he was on the stage and has a very natural stage presence. If it’s possible to be cute at his height — he was! There are no biographies in the programme and so I don’t know how much he’s done before, but he appeared completely at ease in the role of Buddy.

As the high-powered, hard businessman Walter Hobbs, Nigel was convincing and over the years I have seen his performances go from strength to strength.

Ellie McMahon was charming as his wife Emily and her duet with Michael ‘I’ll Believe in You’ was especially good. 

Playing their younger son Michael, Henry Skinner acted and sang well and shows great promise for the future.

Tara Cimino played the tough Jovie as a true NewYorker but was gradually won over by the gentle Buddy (gentleness being a novelty in New York!)

Aileen never fails to impress and in the role of Deb she was first rate. I loved her waddling around the stage, the way she sat, her whole demeanour in fact. Her two office pals Chadwick and Matthews, played by Connie and Amanda respectively, made their mark too.

Nick Gething acquitted himself well as Greenaway, as did Liam Rouse in the role of Store Manager.

The other named characters supported the principals strongly and the Ensemble, both adults and youngsters, added tremendously to the piece. 

There were many particularly memorable scenes amongst which was the opening one with all the elves dressed beautifully and with their shoes on their knees. They were so convincing and moved with apparent ease – quite incredible!

The production was beautifully costumed and a delight visually.

Singing was very good from the whole cast and although for me the numbers were unfamiliar they were well rehearsed and pleasing to the ear.

Lighting was most effective and the smoke machine and the snow falling in the finale really added a magical touch.

Direction by Jack and choreography by Charlie were first class. I loved the office scenes with the activity going on between the secretaries, and inside Macy’s too. The skating rink was fantastic!

I have only one negative point and I’m afraid it crops up often but I am going to make it as I think it’s very important. 

The music was too loud for a number of the songs. As a member of the audience I want to be able to hear the vocalists words – they are important to the story and of course have been written to convey both the story and sentiments involved. I’m afraid that wasn’t always possible.

That aside I thoroughly enjoyed the show. The production team did a magnificent job and presented an extremely polished and dazzling show to the packed theatre.

Congratulations to absolutely everyone involved in ‘Elf’ and my thanks to Jack for his generous hospitality on the evening.

I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a healthy 2022.

E. Gloria Smith

NODA   S.E. Representative – District 12