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Glenn's Elf review

December 5, 2014

At The Paper-Mill-Playhouse in Milburn, NJ:

Meehan, Martin, Sklar, & Beguelin’s ELF [****]

Tired of Chas. Dickens’ Christmas-Carol? How About a Singing/Dancing-Elf Up in Central-Park?

Those Folks who loved Will Farrell in the Movie-Treatment of Elf may think James Moye is, perhaps, Trying-Too-Hard to Re-Farrellize in the current colorful Paper-Mill-Playhouse Revival.

Fortunately, Moye’s Energetic, even Manic, Overgrown-Elf—called Buddy—is just what is needed to make this Manufactured-Santa-Story come to Life.

Oddly enough, Buddy’s Real-Dad—Buddy got to the North-Pole by Mistake & was raised by Santa’s-Elves—is in Real-Trouble because he cannot come up with a Dynamite-Idea for a nifty new Christmas-for-Kiddies Best-Seller at the Major-Publishing-House where he is a Desperate-Editor among Corporate-Idiots.

That must have been very much on the minds of the Book-Writers for Elf themselves: How about Buddy & Santa’s-Grounded-Sleigh up in Central-Park?

This works very well, especially thanks to the Design-Ingenuity of Matthew Smucker [sets], David C. Woolard [costumes], & Charlie Morrison [lighting].

Up In Central Park was once a Successful-Broadway-Musical, but Elf seems to have been inspired, instead, by Miracle on 34th-Street, which is where both the Actual & Fictional MACY*S is located.

The Book has been a bit Updated, but you really don’t have to have Influence to get a table at Tavern-on-the-Green anymore. In its New-Incarnation, it can seat Scores of Central-Parkers.

Buddy’s Foster-Father, Santa, is both cuddly & jolly in Paul C. Vogt’s Saturday-Evening-Post impersonation, abetted by Madge Dietrich’s Mrs. Claus.

But Robert Cucciioli—remember him in Jekyll & Hyde?—plays a very stern Actual-Father, a bit appalled to realize that a College-Infatuation has resulted in an Outsized-Elf.

He has also not been Much-of-a-Dad or a Husband to his Own-Immediate-Family.

So this Modern-Day-Scrooge-of-the-Emotions will have to Undergo a Christmas-Fueled-Transformation!

Since PETA has Nixed Santa’s-Reindeers, Buddy & his Dad have to get Everyone-on-Stage—as well as the Snow-Covered-Audience—to get that Sleigh back up in the Polluted-Manhattan-Air.

The Snow-Covered-Audience—Fake-Foam-Snow!—enjoyed Elf hugely & noisily.

So did I! You just have to Believe-Very-Hard in the Legend-of-Christmas & Santa-Claus.

For many Dwellers in the Middle-East, this is Not-an-Important-Issue…

If you get to take a Picture-of-Yourself on your iPhone with Buddy, could that be called an Elfie?

Copyright 2014 Glenn M. Loney

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