Johnny Depp's strange, lonely boy with the long shears for hands didn't have a lot to say in
Tim Burton's beloved 1990 flick. This plus this story's magical aura and its innate dancability
made it natural choice for choreographer Matthew Bourne to call on the screenplay's writer, Caroline Thompson, to help him transform it into another of his by now signature story ballets. The result is another gorgeous Bourne spectacle that has been touring large theaters in California and is currently making a stop at BAM's beautiful Howard Gilman Opera House.
Like Lizzie Loveridge, our chief London critic, I've been a fan of Bourne's work since seeing his amazing Swan Lake
. Since Lizzie and Laura Hitchcock in Los Angeles already clocked in with their opinions on this adaptation, I've added their reviews below and will add just a few comments about the show at this point in its travels.
Though the movie wasn't a musical the use of Danny Elfman's film score sets up a momentary expectation for someone to not just talk but sing, but this passes as the old lady who turns out to be old Kim Boggs exits from the stage. Even the youngsters who make up a good part of the audience and those not familiar with the story have no trouble following Edward's creation, his growing up in a suburban anywhere, USA, the bittersweet finale of his love for his adoptive family's daughter. It's also worth noting that, unlike a lot of shows attended by many small children, I didn't hear a peep or note signs of restlessness even from pre-schoolers at the Saturday matinee I attended.
The dancers have lost none of their verve and whether you see Richard Winsor, as I did, or Sam Archer with whom he alternates the demanding title role, you'll see a graceful and endearing Edward. While I agree with all the positive things Lizzie and Laura had to say, I found that some of the suburban celebrations went on a bit too long and seemed just an itty bitty too reminiscent of Agnes DeMille and at one point "Hernando's Hideaway" from Pajama Game
. That said, the two hours fly by and dances like the Topiary Garden and Ice Dance numbers are breathtakingly imaginative and watchable. Lez Brotherstone's colorful scenery fits the spacious opera house stage beautifully.
While there wasn't any real snow as seen at the end of the London production, there was enough of the white stuff right on Lafayette Avenue. You can watch a video preview of Edward Scissorhands
at You Tube— http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtszpoxqER8 — and at the BAM website —— http://www.bam.org/events/07EDWA/07EDWA_video.aspx
LINKS TO OTHER BOURNE BALLETS WE'VE REVIEWED
Play Without Words, London & New York
Bam video preview
NOTES FOR THE BAM PRODUCTIONS VIEWED
Devised, directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne
Based on the original story and motion picture directed by Tim Burton for 20th Century Fox
Original screenplay and co-adaptation by Caroline Thompson
Music And Arrangements by Terry Davies, including themes from the original motion picture by Danny Elfman
Cast at the performance viewed: Edward (Richard Winsor), Peg Boggs (Rachel Morrow), Bill Boggs (Andrew Cobett), Kim Boggs (Hannah Vassallo), Kevin Boggs (Gavin Eden), Joyce Monroe (Michela Meazza), George Monroe (Steve Kirkham), Bunny Monroe (Mikan Smilie), Gerald Monroe (Drew McOnie), Charity Upton (Ebony MolinaMikah Smillie), Mayor Upton (Gareth Charlton), Darlene Upton (Gemma Payne), James (Jim) Upton (James Leece), Esmeralda Evercreech (Rachel Lancaster), Rev. Judas Evercreech (Matthew Malthouse), Marilyn-Ann Evercreech (Shelby Williams), Gabriel Evercreech (Ross Carpenter), Tiffany Covitt (Chloe Wilkinson), Brad Covitt (Jake Samuels), Candy Covitt (Kerry Biggin), Chase Covitt (Philip Willingham), Gloria Grubb (Mami Tomotani), Manny Grubb (Adam Galbraith), Sandra Grubb (Sophia Hurdley), Sheldon Grubb (Luke Murphy), The Inventor (Adam Galbraith), Little Edward (Gavin Eden), Old Kim (Rachel Morrow), Cheerleaders (Kerry Biggin, Hannah Vassallo, Chloe Wilkinson), TV Reporters (Steve Kirkham, Chloe Wilkinson), Photogarapher (Adam Galbraith
Set and Costumes: Lez Brotherston
Lighting Design: Howard Harrison
Sound Design: Paul Groothuis
Orchestra conductor: Andrew Bryan
Running Time: Two hours, plus intermission
From 3/14/07 to 3/31/07; opening 3/16/07
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Avenue 718/636-4182, www.bam.org
Tickets: $30 to $80
Reviewed by Elyse Sommer at March 17th matinee