Elf the Musical, an all-singing, all-dancing version of the Will Ferrell movie, opens this week at the Dominion theatre in London.
Ben Forster stars as the eager-to-please toymaker Buddy, who swaps the north pole for a New York department-store grotto, where he meets Jovie (former Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh).
Critics have given a lukewarm reaction to Elf the Musical, the West End version of the hit 2003 comedy film.
Jesus Christ Superstar lead Ben Forster appears as Buddy the elf with former Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh as his love interest Jovie.
The production made headlines earlier this year when it was revealed to be the most expensive West End show, with top tickets at £240 each.
A “magic for a steep price”.
“This is bound to make a lot of kids very happy even if leaves a lot of parents very broke.”
Although he said the production “feels generic”, he had much praise for Forster – playing the role made famous by Will Ferrell on the big screen.
The musical – which first ran on Broadway – retells the story of a 30-year-old man who is brought up as one of Santa’s elves, but travels to New York to meet his real father when he discovers he is human.
“He’s no Ferrell, but this perfect specimen of arrested masculine development still twinkles cutely, brightly, sweetly”.
In his three-star review, the show was described as an “amiable, good-natured seasonal show”, but was an “overpriced Christmas spectacle”.
Praising Forster’s performance, but added: “Other parts are a bit two-dimensional by comparison, but Kimberley Walsh as the improbably loveless love interest, Joe McGann as Elf’s real-life father and Jessica Martin as his perky step-mother are enjoyably likeable.”
Elf runs at the Dominion Theatre until 2 January.
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