ELF Jr THE MUSICAL
9th December 2017
CRAIGYDON COMMUNITY CENTRE
Philip M Jones
Hannah Seaman: Holly Morrisey
Author: BEN HUXLEY FOR LYN EMMERSON
It’s a fantastic idea for a young musical theatre group to put on Elf: Jr. The Musical during the festive season. It is a fun, festive and good-natured story that most of us know thanks to the 2003 John Favreau film. And here at Craig y Don Community Centre, Llandudno Youth Musical Theatre – now a long-established company – manage to pull it off slickly.
The set is simple and minimal, yet quite charming. Two flats are present, on either side of the stage, to represent the story’s two settings: New York City and the North Pole. Our North Pole flat has an image of a giant stocking with Santa’s “good” and “bad” lists peeping out. The other features a straightforward yet effective New York skyline. Throughout the show, there is excellent use of an overhead projector. As we move from place to place, the image projected on the back-wall changes – from inside Macy’s Department Store to a scene in Central Park, all images fit with the ambience of the scene perfectly. The show opens with a scene featuring Santa’s elves’ production line, laden with a skateboard, an etch-a-sketch, a teddy bear, and plenty of other intergenerational toys that would be familiar to all in the audience. The final scene in Central Park has a lovely atmosphere, too; with a nice use of paper trees, and a snowy background on the screen. Complementing the set is the costumes: from the colourful elves to the trendy New Yorkers, everyone looks the part.
The cast is so large that, unfortunately, I can’t cover each individual performance. What I can say, however, is that there isn’t a weak link – and everyone involved plays their part perfectly, however small their role. James Hutin, as Buddy the Elf, is rarely off stage, and his cheeky interpretation of the character is never less than hilarious. It would have been easy to try to emulate Will Ferrell, but James never does this; instead making the role truly his own. Juxtaposing Hutin’s wacky protagonist were the more grounded characters. Eva Sutton played to her evident skills with dry humour to convincingly portray Jovi – a cynic, and unlikely love interest for Buddy. Her rendition of the song “Never Fall in Love with an Elf” is spot-on, too. Benjamin Payne takes on the role of the exasperated estranged father to Buddy, and does so with a charming subtlety. Kayleigh Bonner and Max Anglesea play Emily and Michael Hobbs, Buddy’s step mother and step brother. Their duet “I’ll Believe in You” is so well performed, it almost steals the show.
It is a charming production that will please children and adults alike – and, walking out of Craig-y-Don Community Centre, it’s impossible not to feel jolly and festive.
ROALD DAHL’S MATILDA THE MUSICAL (IN 20 MINUTES) - LYN EMMERSON
This offering from the cast of approximately 50 children was beautifully presented by the younger members of LYMT – STAGE NOTES. Each child knew their tasks which they all carried out with confidence. The piece was well directed, singing was spot on and this short excerpt from this most popular musical was a real joy, and well received by an audience of proud parents and friends. . The presentation followed by with some seasonal Christmas songs and Carols to prepare us for the festive season.