Having interviewed Elf only a few weeks prior to seeing her live at Komedia on the 9th of October, it made for a fun experience. She even noticed me, waved and asked how my course was going so far all whilst completing her warm-up live on stage. As far as first impressions go, she made a big one. Wearing a bedazzled hospital gown that gaped open at the back and nothing else aside from the cherubic smile plastered across her face, Elf’s warm-up dances were a sight to behold. The music taste was also impeccable and my friend and I found ourselves singing along before the night had even properly begun.
In total, Elf started her show four times – each with a specific style yet all hilarious and quintessentially Elf. Each start had a different voice and it set the tone for the night. Throughout the reading of diary entries, guinea pig forums, recounting stories and interacting with the crowd – Elf managed to contort her voice into a large range of characters, all with their own quirks. I found myself forgetting what she actually sounded like, so it was always quite a nice welcome when her own voice returned to the room.
Partly way through the show Elf made us all turn to face a partner, hold their hand and repeat whispered phrases along the lines of ‘I care about you’ and ‘I love you’, whilst holding their gaze ‘lovingly’. To do this she brought up an unsuspecting member of the audience who seemed to thoroughly enjoy their time on stage! The level of audience participation was used at several moments, such as passing a girl a rattle to shake at the start of the show whenever she found something funny, and was not cliche at all. In fact, it all added to the night of comedy.
Overall the show was enjoyable, well written and hilarious – yet Elf managed to convey such serious emotions through real-life analogies. If I were to compare her work to the written word it would have to be Dolly Alderton’s ‘Everything I know about love’ (what coincidentally is an exceptionable book that you should all read). However, what struck me was that at the end of the night, right before the big finale, Elf apologised. She was concerned that she had seemed a tad distracted and off due to the fact that her mind had been elsewhere. This ‘elsewhere’ being on the fact that half-way through the show she lost the feeling in her left leg entirely and was starting to lose the feeling in her right. This is not an unusual occurrence as the performer had mentioned, wittily, during her act she had had spinal surgery and had ongoing issues with her spine. Yet, you never would have known she was affected on the night. I have been lucky enough to have witnessed a range of drama, theatre and comedy and Elf Lyons was the most charismatic and vivid performer I have ever seen. That endorsement is not out of any remote pity or sheer adoration of her due to the kindness she has shown me on previous occasions, yet pure hard and objective fact. Elf Lyons is an exceptional performer who I hope you all, someday, have the pleasure of seeing.