The Elves and the Shoemaker

The Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch

18/01/2012 - 28/01/2012

Production Details


THE ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKER are coming to The Court Theatre in a magical adaptation of the classic fairytale; the first children’s show in The Court’s new Addington theatre.

200 years after the Brothers Grimm first published their book of fairytales, Greg Cooper has adapted the popular story into a fun-filled holiday show featuring original music and songs by Hamish Oliver.

DirectorElsie Edgerton-Tilldescribes THE ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKER as “a show filled with heaps of fun, and magical in lots of ways. There’s the magic of the elves, mixed with the magic of theatre, with singing and dancing (and maybe a little juggling) thrown in for good measure.”

Jarred Skelton plays the Shoemaker and Lizzie Tollemache and Eli Matthewson play the elves (as as well as a variety of other characters). The cast and director are all members of The Court Jesters and are looking forward to providing plenty of audience participation Preparing the show for the stage has challenged The Court’s wardrobe department; every costume for the production has had to be made from scratch with resources in the Arts Centre remaining inaccessible. “We’ve had to create everything ourselves – from elves to Elvis,” says costume designer Emily Thomas, “creating thirteen costumes in less than two weeks has definitely put our new equipment to the test.”

THE ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKER runs from 18 – 28 January, with shows at 11am and 1pm

Monday – Friday, and 11am Saturday. All tickets (adults and children) are $9.

Performance dates: 18 – 28 January 2012

Performance Times: 11am & 1pm Monday – Friday, 11am Saturday, no shows Sunday.

Ticket prices: All tickets $9

Bookings: The Court Theatre, Bernard St, Addington. Ph 963 0870 or book online at  

Cast: Eli Matthewson, Jarred Skelton and Lizzie Tollemache 

Purposeful energy and humour has wide audience appeal

Review by Lindsay Clark 18th Jan 2012

Finding the magic bridge between well loved old tales and appropriately cool stuff for today is always a challenge. The basic action often relies on the ‘rule of three’ and to some extent is therefore predictable. The dark side, once so fascinating and fearful, generates less of a thrill for the young contemporary watcher. Even the language, resounding in its remembered simplicity, has to be injected with conversational glibness to catch the ear of today’s bright buttons taking in their theatre treat. 

It falls then to the writer for stage performance, to find fresh but appropriate business, and to the director to ensure a flow of creative talent. The Greg Cooper script is well served byElsie Edgerton-Till’s bright shaping of the action and the combined resources of her cast: Jarred Skelton as the Shoemaker; Lizzie Tollemach as his wife, as well as a rich woman, a jester and an elf; and Eli Mathewson as greedy landlord, an old man customer, an elf and the king. Big asks, generously met.

A further constraint on the production is imposed by the space, set up as a hall for the main bill (A Shortcut to Happiness), so that the secret night time doings of the elves lose a little impact. By crafting marvellous shoes overnight, they are rewarding the impoverished shoemaker for his generous gift to a ragged old man, even though he and his wife are threatened with eviction by yes, the wickedly sneering landlord. Lighting and smoke effects help, as does an inventive sound score, but the success of the whole rests with the actors and clear direction which keeps the tale afloat. 

Everyone it seems can relate to snazzy footwear. The pairs produced by the elves and the song and dance numbers they inspire, certainly had the approval of The Court’s first young audience, though the final blue suede number with its Elvis setting must have mystified a number of them.

Participation is cleverly arranged and was enjoyed at the opening performance by a large, attentive gathering. Not magic exactly, but a tale well told, with energy and humour and a clear sense of purpose. Best of all perhaps, the theatre’s new venue has proved its appeal to the wider audience needed to ensure its rosy future. 


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council