The cast of Elf the Musical say Asda will make Santa’s nice list this year after its Christmas advert helped ticket sales.
The ad shows Will Ferrell’s Buddy, from the 2003 film Elf, undergoing a probationary shift at the supermarket and inevitably causing mayhem and holiday magic.
The film and West End play both follow the story of happy-go-lucky Buddy (played by Simon Lipkin on stage), who grew up at the North Pole and grew up believing he was an elf – only to discover he is in fact human. Buddy then heads to New York to find his father and find out who he really is.
Speaking to The Standard after Thursday’s press night, Tom Chambers – who plays Buddy’s gruff father Walter Hobbs – said: ‘We are very grateful to Asda as the serendipity of that moment absolutely catapulted consumer awareness that Elf it’s actually at the Dominion Theater in town.
“The producers are over the moon with the ticket sales,” Lipkin agreed.
When asked about the challenge of taking on such a beloved character, Lipkin – who is no stranger to Chritmas films having appeared in Nativity 3 – said it was “intimidating.”
“He’s intimidating because he’s Will Ferrell and he’s the best, like, he’s untouchable. So in all honesty I thought I couldn’t make an impression and I think it would move the audience. So I tried to capture the spirit of what it brought to the role, but to make it my own,” he said.
“I hope people like it, enjoy it and I make them laugh and smile and feel good things.”
Chambers – who won Strictly Come Dancing in 2008 and whose previous TV credits include Holby City, Casualty and Waterloo Road – said his portrayal of Walter hasn’t gone over too well with his young daughter.
She explained: “I was practicing my lines at home and my daughter Poppy, who is only four, was in the room and she was like ‘no, I don’t want you to be like that!’ I said, ‘Don’t worry, I’m just pretending, it’s not real.'”
Chambers is thrilled that all three of his children are coming to see the show after Christmas with his wife Clare, so hopefully Poppy will approve more.
“It’s very difficult to describe what it feels like to stand in front of two thousand people and hear them laugh and cheer and be happy after everything we’ve been through over the past few years. Just to feel the joy,” Lipkin added.
You can read Nick Curtis’ review of Elf the musical for the Standard here.
The show is running at the Dominion Theater through January 7; buy tickets here