Review By: Nichole Quick, Pennsauken High School
MT. HOLLY, N.J. — “Never fall in love with an elf.” This is the lesson Jovie sings about, but it’s impossible not to fall in love with one during Rancocas Valley Regional High School’s production of Elf the Musical performed on Sunday, December 4.
Originally a movie produced by Thomas Meehan in 2003, Elf was adapted into a musical with music written by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin. Elf the Musical opened on Broadway in 2010 and toured in 2012. The story of this musical is a heartwarming holiday classic: Buddy the Elf finds out he is in fact, not an elf, but a human orphan raised at the North Pole by Santa and the resident elves. On a quest to find his father, Buddy lands in New York City. For the rest of the musical, Buddy helps bring Christmas spirit to those he meets in his own crazy way.
Rancocas Valley High School’s production truly expresses the cheery holiday feel of the story, with Christmas stage decorations, atmospheric lighting, and high energy from the cast. Watching the show, one can expect to really feel the emotions on stage: from Buddy and Jovie’s blossoming romance to the longing for fatherly love from Michael Hobbs.
The leads of the show– Aidan Holmes as Buddy, Elizabeth Ford as Jovie, and James Humphreys as Walter Hobbs– all shine in their own ways. Aidan Holmes’ performance as Buddy brings to life Buddy’s expressiveness and “accidental” comedic timing. Elizabeth Ford’s performance as Jovie shows her deep emotions and eventual growth as a person throughout the story. Last but not least, James Humphreys’ performance as Walter Hobbs succeeds at the difficult job of portraying a stressed father, under the pressure of losing his job while worrying about his family’s holiday requests.
The supporting cast overall radiated “Sparklejollytwinklejingley” spirit. Specific mentions that stood out would be Joelle Darragh as Emily Hobbs and JT Mozes as Michael Hobbs. The duo’s vocals blended during their numbers together like “I’ll Believe in You” to make an awe-inspiring performance. Lyndsey Finsen as Deb also caught the eye with her dancing skills, making herself seem like a leader in the choreography. The supporting cast during “A Christmas Song” deserve a round of applause as well, with each member being able to roller skate making the scene more immersive.
Looking closer at tech, everything ran smoothly with minor hiccups being fixed as quickly as possible. Overall, lighting and sound cues were on time. The stage crew was quick on setting props for the next scene, even when set pieces were large. Mentioning set pieces, each scene was unique– with a special mention to the detail in the Hobb’s house, where it looked like each brick in the wall seemed dimensional. Another special mention to the snow machines used near the end, adding to the immersive experience.
Overall, Rancocas Valley Regional High School’s production of Elf the Musical was creative and high energy, which is perfect for a holiday musical. Don’t worry, Buddy, we’ll always believe in Santa!
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