It’s already the hottest ticket in town. The buzz on the streets started almost a year ago when The Lowry announced that it was bringing Elf the Musical to Salford as part of their Christmas program for 2018. The Broadway show debuted in the West End in 2015 and became the fastest selling show at the Dominion Theatre in its history. That fever, it would seem, has been caught by the folks up north making Elf the Musical this season’s must watch production.
There came a point during Cilla the Musical where moments after Kara Lily Hayworth had delivered a spine tingling rendition of ‘Anyone who had a Heart’ the audience launched into an impromptu round of applause. It’s that kind of ringing endorsement that shows what makes this production such a hit with those in the aisles.
The Snowman has become an institution. Raymond Briggs’ classic was turned into an animation Oscar nominated short film by Dianne Jackson that was an immediate hit. Like the book it is a story told through pictures, action and music, scored by Howard Blake, featuring the stand out song “Walking in the Air”. It has become so ingrained in British popular culture that it’s showing now is a compulsory annual event.
When award winning shows that have made their name and money in the fancy footlights of Broadway rock into town, y’know what you are going to get. After all it’s a ringing endorsement from punters to critics. Spamalot is such a show, having been seen by more than two million people, grossed over $175m and won the Tony Award for Best Musical way back in 2005 as well having been nominated for a few Oliviers over here, it continued its national tour with a week’s residency at the Manchester Palace Theatre.
It’s hard not be drawn to Elmi Ali’s development piece, Water Seeds Not Stones, which is currently being shown as part of the 2017 Flying Solo Festival at Contact Theatre. It promises a combination of traditional storytelling and performance art, told through the character of Mamamawodi from the Edge.