A little girl wakes up to find a ghostly elephant in her bedroom. At first, it’s all fun and games but before long, the Elephantom becomes too big to handle. He farts, he bounces, he breaks things and he sends her parents (who can’t even see him) half-way round the bend. It’s up to the girl and her grandma to pay a visit to some ghostbusters who can help contain the Elephantom menace!
The Elephantom is a brilliantly conceived piece of family theatre. It’s based on a picture book by author/illustrator Ross Collins who admitted he shed tears when he first saw his characters brought to life.
This production charms you from its opening scenes, with carefully choreographed movements and clever sound effects that turn everything from pouring tea to stirring sugar into a mini performance.
The Elephantom himself is a giant inflatable figure in several parts (made of parachute silk), moved around by puppeteers. You can see them working hard and yet they blend effortlessly into the background, allowing the Elephantom to come alive.
In fact he’s so believable that when he does great big elephant plops on stage, and the mess is picked up by one of the cast, Jed was disgusted and I had to remind him it was only ‘pretend poo’.
There is no dialogue so while The Elephantom is aimed at kids ages 3 and up, there were lots of younger ones following along, and at the same time my 8-year-old was immersed in the story.
And while it drags a little in the middle (it’s 1 hour, no interval), there’s enough energy and audience involvement to keep little bums on seats.
After the show, we ran into the absolutely lovely Damian Lewis (who I knew when we were kids). We had a nice catch-up chat and he introduced me to his wife, actress Helen McCrory and their children. Also on the VIP guest list were actors Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd) and Angela Griffin (Waterloo Rd), Nitin Ganatra (Eastenders) and Jason Flemying (Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels), and musician Newton Faulkner among others.
The boys were most impressed by getting up close and personal with the Elephantom briefly as he came bounding out to meet some of the audience.
Ezra’s Review (age 8)
‘The Elephantom was really funny. The first time he came in he couldn’t stop bouncing on her. One of the funniest parts was when the Elephantom kept swapping things around at breakfast and her parents thought she was messing up, especially when he drank all three of their teas.
I liked when the Elephantom got his friends over and they had a party, and one of them was doing the Everyday I’m Shuffling dance (mum’s note: it was actually the Running Man). I would recommend this show for people who want their children to see something funny. And there’s a little surprise at the end!’
Jed’s Review (age 5)
‘I like it when the Elephantom was bouncing and I like it at the end when everybody became friends. I liked it when her grandma was looking after her and they went to a different place and there was a guy being funny. And the Elephantom touched me!’ (big grin).
The Elephantom is at New London Theatre, Drury Lane, WC2B 5PF (Holborn tube). Shows 11.30am & 2.30pm (Tue-Fri), 2.30pm (Mon) & 10am (Sat); £13-£20 (Jun 30-Sep 6). Recommended for ages 3+.
Production Photos by Brinkhoff Mögenburg/Photo of Damian Lewis by Dan Wooller