Saturday, December 17, 2005

Edward Scissorhands at Sadlers Wells, London

Director Tim Burton and writer Caroline Thompson's film, Edward Scissorhands, has been adapted for the stage by Matthew Bourne and is being staged, as a ballet, at London's Sadlers Wells theatre. The classic modern fairytale, which starred Johnny Depp, Wynona Ryder and Vincent Price, has been beautifully cast as a ballet, featuring all the colourful charm and quirky humour of the film. Long time Tim Burton musical collaborator, Danny Elfman, provides the musical themes taken from and inspired by the original soundtrack. After acclaimed choreography and staging for dance hits like 'Swan Lake' and 'The Car Man', Matthew Bourne has created a personal triumph, which was many years in development after he was enchanted by the film, one of Burton's early classics.

A brillant treat for all the family, the ballet captures the naive charm and wonder of the film and ably translates its satirical view of 1950s suburban America into elaborate dance sequences, featuring classical ballet moves embellished with motifs from rock and roll. Clever staging enables Edward to cut the neighbourhood bushes into fantasy shapes of stars and dinosaurs before the audience's eyes. Sam Archer, who plays Edward Scisscorhands is dazzling as he dances with the impediment of long metal shears on his hands. Elegant choreography stuns in its precision, as his arms windmill in every direction, but somehow avoid 'cutting' his fellow dancers.

Fans of the film will not be disappointed as key scenes are recreated on stage. The poignant moment when Edward creates an ice statue in the image of Kim is beautifully portrayed here and a highlight for me was the elaborate dance sequence between the two leads with the other dancers dressed as some of Edward's topiary masterpieces. The story is simplified and altered to a certain extent and there is some backstory added to the beginning, but it is absolutely in the spirit of the original.

A great evening out for the holiday season and another artistic triumph for Matthew Bourne. Great too that Tim Burton and Caroline Thompson allowed him to adapt their work and also got involved in the production. This Edward Scissorhands deserves to be produced in many cities across the world.


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