Review: The Elf Who Was Scared of Christmas (online)

Let’s face it, deep down we’re all scared of something, whether it’s heights, snakes, spiders, the dentist or some other phobia. But in a new family show written and performed by Neil McDermott and Gina Beck, we meet an elf with a rather unusual fear: Christmas. 

The Elf Who Was Scared of Christmas was originally playing at the Charing Cross Theatre earlier this month but the run came to an abrupt end following the government’s announcement of further public health restrictions. Thankfully viewers are still able to enjoy this entertaining show virtually on this Christmas.

Figgy and Cupcake are two of Santa’s elves. Everything is well in their world until Cupcake turns the page on the calendar and discovers it’s December, the month of Christmas. As she ducks for cover and hides underneath a blanket, Figgy soon discovers that Cupcake’s anxiety stems from the thought of delivering presents. He sets about trying to remind his friend of the joy of Christmas, while also dealing with his own fear of losing his magical powers for good.

This hour-long show, produced by Danielle Tarento, reunites McDermott and Beck after 20 years (the pair met performing with the National Youth Music Theatre) and is full of music, magic and mayhem. At its core is a lovely story as Figgy enlists the help of children to convince Cupcake why this time of year is so special. In a heartwarming segment of the show video clips are played of the children answering questions about why they love Christmas, a reminder of the magic of Christmas, not just for Cupcake but for the audience too. Within the show there’s also a great underlying message throughout about how it’s ok to be scared, and that it helps to speak out about your anxieties.

Neil McDermott and Gina Beck are a great double act with great chemistry, and have just the right about of enthusiasm and energy to keep the audience – both young and old – entertained. There are moments where audience participation is encouraged, whether it’s dancing or clapping and stamping your feet, and it’s no surprise that the audience in the theatre when the show was filmed seemed to be having a ball.

The main story wraps up perhaps a little too quickly which is a shame, but on a plus side the show ends with a fun Christmas concert that both entertains and gets you into the festive spirit. McDermott and Beck demonstrate their fine singing voices as they perform classic festive tracks including Deck the Halls and Santa Claus is Coming to Town, before everyone gets the chance to sing along to Must Be Santa. 

The Elf Who Was Scared of Christmas is a fun family show full of energy and with a touching story of friendship at its heart. After the year we’ve all had this is a timely reminder to embrace your inner child and remember the magic of Christmas. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Elf Who Was Scared of Christmas is available to view until 4 January.


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