A Christmas elf giving it his all to entertain crowds on London’s Regent Street has become a viral hit on social media.
The video, which has been viewed nearly 800,000 times on Twitter, sees three elves strut their stuff to the tune of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” outside world-famous toy shop Hamleys.
‘Leading Role they said. West End location they said.’ pic.twitter.com/10xkvpSaLh
— Alice Orr-Ewing (@aliceorrewing) December 5, 2018
“I just like to make people laugh, comedy is what I thrive on and I do a lot of improv,” said Mike Rogers, 23, the lead dancer in the video which has been shared thousands of times since Wednesday.
Rather than a set routine, the dance was pure improvisation, he said, part of a game where his Christmas colleagues had to copy his moves as he made them up.
He also applies his improv skills to invent songs for kids around the shop, a skill he picked up from the award-winning creators of improvised West End musical Showstopper.
“Improvising a song and whole musical is nice and challenging. But the dream is to do stand up or perform to crowds around the world.
“I do have lots of people coming in saying ‘you should be on the West End’,” he told the Press Association.
Another video posted to Instagram shows Mike getting into to it to the tune of “Dreamgirls” from the hit musical of the same name.
Sophie Ali, who filmed the Instagram video, wrote “I love Christmas in London!”
This is now Mike’s fourth Christmas at Hamleys, working eight-hour shifts to entertain customers and passersby after coming to the UK from South Africa in 2015 to pursue his dream of being on the stage.
Famous actors and showbiz professionals have used social media to wish him support.
“Huge respect to these performers. We have all done these kinds of jobs. I would be proud to cast/book/recommend an actor showing this kind of commitment any time of the year,” tweeted John Byrne, a columnist and career adviser for industry newspaper The Stage.
The legendary Bebe Neuwirth even gave a shout-out.
Yeeessss! Get it done elf kid!
— Bebe Neuwirth (@BebeNeuwirth) December 7, 2018
Amanda Abbington, who plays Dr Watson’s wife Mary Morstan in hit BBC show Sherlock, said simply “I love him.”
Other Twitter users were equally impressed with his dedication to his character:
Watched him talking to children the other day, absolutely in character, in fact I had a good look to see if his fake elf ears were really his own!
— Alison Newnham (@Allypally52) December 6, 2018
This is a journey man actor. It’s not the role. It’s not the location. It’s a job & you approach it like it’s a leading role in a Hollywood movie. Agents. Sign the guy up
— Lady Janie Geek ????????❄️???????? (@LadyJanieGeek) December 7, 2018
There’s been some nasty tweets floating around with this footage attached. But you know what his fully committed & passionate, his gone out there & give it his all #legend ????????
— Dean S G Maskell (@Dean_Maskell) December 7, 2018
Here’s someone taking the job he’s been given and doing it as well as he can. Give me staff with this attitude all day long.
— Nick Hodson (@NickHodson64) December 7, 2018
100% commitment. And he's very good..bravo!
— Vin Kelsey (@vckelsey6) December 8, 2018
@katie_grieder He is OWNING that performance ????????????????♂️
— Lauren Veronica (@lauren_v_sils) December 8, 2018
There's no half-arsed about that !!
Go BIG or go HOME
— Tambolina (@FearlessTherapy) December 8, 2018
So does this new attention give Mike hope for future roles?
“It’s all about working hard, but it’s definitely exciting and hopefully this is the ball starting to roll,” he said.
And he is riding into the weekend like….???????????? pic.twitter.com/Ra0F2WUsnm
— Hamleys Toys (@HamleysToys) December 7, 2018
A version of this article originally appeared on Press Association.