If you are not yet in the Christmas spirit, there is one surefire way of getting into it – go and see Elf The Musical at the Alban Arena. 

St Albans Musical Theatre Company’s (SAMTC) autumn offering is being performed locally just a week before the professional production is due to open in the West End. 

So why spend money on expensive tickets and train fares when for sheer energy, fun and exuberance, you can find the show on the St Albans stage. 

Elf is a quintessentially Christmas story and ideally would have been performed nearer to the festivities but for licensing restrictions. 

However it doesn’t matter because I defy anyone to come out of the Alban Arena after watching it and not feel Christmassy. 

The story of Buddy the Elf who is brought up in the North Pole and returns to New York to find his father is a classic family tale. 

There were plenty of children in the audience on Tuesday’s opening night and to say they were enjoying it was an understatement – they were jumping up and down, hollering and generally having a great time. 

There was plenty for the adults to enjoy too, not least the creative choreography  - take a bow Andrea Campusano – the live music under Clive Ogden and the usual wonderful vocals. 

Director Elise Betts clearly had a vision of how she wanted Elf to play out, from the elves dancing on their knees at the start through Santa’s sleigh spotted flying over New York to the marvellous denouement which I won’t give away. 

Directing SAMTC musicals is no walk in the park and Elise has directed several for them recently. She must fast be becoming the go-to director for future productions. 

Everything of course is easier with a good cast and Elf has that in spades.  Gareth Edwards is perfectly cast as Buddy, demonstrating just the right degree of childish enthusiasm for the part of the boy/man.  

Georgina Newman as his love interest Jovie showed off her powerful voice to perfection in Never Fall in Love and Ben Fricke played his part as Buddy’s dad Walter so irascibly before his change of heart that I wondered if he would make it to the end of the performance. 


Special mention has to go to the talent of Evan Roberts who alternates with Jacques White as Walter’s 12-year-old younger son. 

But as in all SAMTC productions it is the cast as a whole from chorus to principals who make them as good as they are. 

Elf The Musical runs until Saturday (11) with matinees on Thursday and Saturday as well as the evening performances.

Tickets are available from the Alban Arena box office on 01727 844488.