NODA Review – Elf Jr

Once again, it proved to be a pleasure to attend the Kings Theatre for a Young NOMADS’

production. Based on the film of the same name, this show tells the comical tale of Buddy the

oversized Elf and his adventures in the big wide world. Being a character completely lacking in

guile, Buddy’s refreshingly open hearted approach to the world around him is the source of most of

the humour in the show: the Yuletide scrapes he gets into (of course) resolving themselves with a

suitably heart-melting happy ending as befits the Christmas setting.

Heading up the cast list as Buddy was Charlie Wilson, who had the tireless energy and

confidence needed to carry this demanding role. He was very much the driving force of the

production and rose to the challenge with a supremely effervescent performance.

The Elves of the North Pole were all lively and suitably clad in elfin garb, with Santa himself

(Thomas Wilson) a nicely jolly figure. Happy All the Time was a particularly glittery opening

number and was well performed by the ensemble, with a backing track used instead of an

orchestral accompaniment throughout the show. The cast had clearly been well drilled musically

by MD Joseph Hall.

Buddy’s trek to find his real father takes him to New York in search of bad-tempered businessman

Walter Hobbs (Joseph Beach) who is such a rotter, he’s made it onto Santa’s Naughty List!

Joseph played the character just right, hinting at the fact that here was a steel hearted business

who just might be receptive to the spirit of Christmas by the time we arrive at the finale.

After causing havoc in Hobbs’ office, Buddy is set to work as a shelf stacker in Macy’s department

store where he bumps into fellow employee Jovie, beautifully played by Faye Dower. Buddy

invites Jovie on a date which doesn’t go well. Faye’s performance of Never Fall in Love (With an

Elf) was one of the highlights of the whole show for me; a great song beautifully sung. Faye is

definitely one to watch.

Very strong performances came from Mr Dobbs’ wife and daughter played by Lara Keen and Alice

Cournane and Otea Qvam-Hamblett made a very authoritative store manager.

The rest of the thirty-strong cast performed with style and confidence in a number of smaller roles

and provided strong vocal support with colourful costumes and a number of scenes which

benefitted from thoughtful staging and considered choreography by Sinead Mathias.

The 2-level staging was simple, effective and well-used. Scene changes were so well managed by

the cast at times they appeared to happen by magic. The lighting was good but once or twice the

sound fell prey to the curse of the body mics which, as you may know, is something of a bête noir

for me.

All in all however this was a really enjoyable bit of pre-festive fun which fitted Young NOMADS like

a glove. NOMADS Kings Theatre’s nurturing support for its young people and the real ‘society’

feeling which emanates from the stage is obvious.

Young NOMADS really had their “sparkle on” and Director Jess Clifford is to be commended for

providing an evening of pacy, tuneful family fun, presenting a musical treat with this charming little

show which brought a touch of (very) early Christmas spirit to us all.

Julie Petrucci

Regional Representative NODA East District Four South.