The Audrey and Stanley Burton theatre at The Northern Ballet, Leeds – Saturday 21 December 2019
Reviewed by Sally Richmond
The Christmas Elf was a mesmerising production that really did take one on a magical and festive journey of discovery. What is Christmas all about a naive forest elf endeavours to ask? As her quest begins and she starts to find out: we meet different woodland creatures, the Christ Child and various humans.
Set to music by Hans Pfitzner and flawlessly played by the Skipton Camerata Orchestra, The Christmas Elf made you feel like you were experiencing something extraordinary; witnessing an actual miracle in front of your very eyes as the enchanting characters unfolded their stories.
Charlotte Hoather (Christmas Elf) characterised the childlike, excited imp to perfection and sang note perfect throughout. Every cast member gave captivating and professional performances but the Christ Child (Peyee Chen), really did appear to have angelic and holy powers – bringing the messages of love, family and togetherness to a transfixed audience.
Directed by David Ward, produced by Louise Garner and musically conducted by Ben Crick, The Christmas Elf warmed hearts on a cold and wet night in Leeds. It was a truly uplifting performance and brought home those traditional gestures such as: gift giving and greeting others into your homes, a true and non commercial meaning.
The Christmas Elf was a delight to see on so many levels – for both the musical scores exhibiting the spectacular voices of the Northern Opera Group and the playing of the Skipton Orchestra – alongside an emotionally rewarding story. A new Christmas tradition I will now be making is to see a festive performance, by the Northern Opera group, every year!