A Picture of Elf

Worcester Repertory Company

Swan Theatre Vesta Tilley Studio


Dr Nick Moroz is a world-weary psychotherapist who is reaching the end of his week and preparing to escape the superficialities of Christmas by taking off to warmer climes for a holiday break far from home and some painful memories.

As he finds himself expecting a last-minute patient who booked for an ‘emergency appointment’ at the end of his final working day, he is kept waiting: the patient is late and he prepares to leave. Suddenly he is confronted by an ‘elf’ – a genuine Christmas elf, one of Santa’s team who are genuinely rushed off their feet at this festive season of the year.

This ridiculous and humorous consultation becomes the context in which we are light-heartedly drawn into a consideration of the meaning and value of Christmas. Furthermore, the tables are turned at one point and the doctor becomes the patient – Dr Moroz’ own motivations and values are explored.

Rob Leetham (Dr Moroz) and George Ormerod (the Elf Bobo Sparklepants) both provide excellent characterisations and performances.

Rob Leetham plays the slightly irritable doctor, tired and struggling with inner angst, who then finds himself drawn into a considerable amount of self-examination, as he struggles to understand the Elf’s despair over the materialism and commercialisation of the season. His straight-forward character is balanced by the eccentricity of his patient.

George Ormerod is a lively, bouncy and light character despite his disillusionment. He provides an excellent foil to the doctor.

The pacing and timing of the show is excellent and helps to hold the audience throughout. Ben Humphrey says in a programme note: ‘I hope that you enjoy this short play and that it brings you moments of laughter, joy and perhaps provokes a few questions at this time of year.’ Indeed it does provoke questions about values in a gentle and light-hearted mode.

This première production of a witty tale is excellent theatre and runs till 21 December. It is the kind of play that works brilliantly in the intimate context of the studio. Don’t miss it in the rush to buy presents and wine! If money is tight, go next Tuesday when you can just pay what you can afford!

Tim Crow


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