Review: Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands (RATING: N/A)18 January, 2009
So, Friday night I went to see the dance show of Edward Scissorhands. This is, actually, a really big thing. It started three odd years ago in England, and has since then been on a world tour with sold-out runs all over the place. The run finally closed today (Sunday), so I only just barely managed to see it. Also, back three years ago when I was in Wales, it was also showing there, but I missed it by a day. So, essentially, I have been waiting three years to see this. When I said “a really big thing” I meant both for the world, and for me. I love Danny Elfman’s music, and to have what would be essentially a two-hour concert, with some added visuals, would be amazing.
That isn’t quite how this turned out. I state right now that this was not a bad thing; I thought that this show was really cool, and I enjoyed it immensely, it just wasn’t quite what I expected. I have never seen a dance show before, at least not one that I remember. Therefore, I could not give this a rating like the other movies and things I have reviewed, since I have no baseline. As I got into this show, I realised that my idealised notion of a Danny Elfman concert couldn’t really work out; most of his incidental music for Edward Scissorhands isn’t really all that danceable. So, of course, there was a lot of other music added in (I don’t know by whom, because you have to pay for programs in England…). More typical stuff like tangos and things. Which fit in surprisingly well. It didn’t quite have the power of, say, the ice dance music, but it was pretty good. And, more importantly, all of the music was live, which I didn’t really think about before I saw it. Rather than having recordings of all the music, it was played by a pit orchestra. Including Elfman’s stuff, so that was awesome to hear those creepy voice things from actual people, not just from speakers.
So, as for the actual dancing, as I said I have never seen a dance show so I can’t really make a value judgment. But I enjoyed it; it was fun to see. Sometimes I thought there was too much going on on stage, because the dancers would break off into groups doing their separate things, and you didn’t really know where to look. But other times, it was awesome. There was one scene in particular where Edward and… Winona Ryder’s character (I can’t remember her name) are dancing essentially in Edward’s mind, and all these people come in as topiary figures, also dancing. They wove in and out of them, and it all looked really impressive. As a first dance show, I was surprised that I actually enjoyed the dancing as much as I did; I was mainly coming for the music and the plot.
And of course, there was a plot. Which was impressive as well, since there was no talking. It helped that I had seen the movie before, but basically I knew exactly what was going on at any time, which, since it was only motion, would be hard to do otherwise. They did change some things around, which I was a little sad at. Some were obvious changes because something couldn’t happen on stage that could happen in the movie, but others I didn’t really understand. For example, there was a little prologue about how there was a real Edward that died, and so the inventor created a new one. Also no break-in, and my biggest problem was actually about the really sketchy lady who tries to seduce Edward; in this he was far too complicit. Finally, in a sort of existential twist, the show ended with Edward turning into a pair of scissors, which was actually pretty cool.
The costumes were cool, very time period (in that way that the movie also has where you don’t actually have any idea what time period it is), and the sets were awesome. I was seated very far back (the last row), so the bottom of the balcony blocked half of the stage, but I’m pretty sure that the sets were constructed so you didn’t actually miss anything in that top half, which was nice. They were very stylised, and intricate, and they were also mostly just rolling flats, but just like the movie had that realism with something not quite right, making the suburbia almost creepier than the big old scary house.
I enjoyed this a lot, and I’m glad I got to see it. Maybe not as good as the movie, but I don’t think I can really say that; I think it was different enough that they can’t really be compared. So, if you’re ever around it, go see it! Not sure if anyone will be.
(Cross-posted at my other blog)