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A CurtainUp Review
Edward Scissorhands

Edward Scissorhands Arrives at BAM's Howard Gilman Opera House

Edward Scisserhands
Edward and some of his adopted family's suburban neighbors
(Photo: Bill Cooper)

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— — and at the BAM website ——

Swan Lake
Play Without Words, London & New York
Bam video preview

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,
Tickets: $30 to $80
Reviewed by Elyse Sommer at March 17th matinee

Lizzie Loveridge's London Review

Edward Scissorhands
Sam Archer as Edward and Kerry Biggins as Kim
(Photo: Bill Cooper)
It is an inspired choice to combine the innovative choreographic talents of Matthew Bourne with Tim Burton's haunting 1990 film, which starred Johnny Depp as the boy Edward Scissorhands. The world premiere of the dance version of Edward Scissorhands is at London's Sadler's Wells to February. I was blown away by the first Matthew Bourne production of The Nutcracker and have made a point of seeing his every production since but Edward Scissorhands seems to me perfectly made for Bourne's special dance treatment. It is a tale of love and prejudice, of generosity and small mindedness and of otherness. But what makes it exceptional is the wit, the humour which Bourne conveys with his very expressive dancers. It is almost as if you are unaware that they are just dancers because you are so caught up with the sublime fully rounded characterisations. I think that Bourne has altered the storyline of the film slightly. After a new prologue, Bourne's version has a group of mature trick or treaters disturbing the inventor. Edward (Sam Archer) finds the Bloggs family while Kim (Hannah Vassallo) the daughter is away on a school trip. Edward is given a home by Mrs Bloggs (Etta Murfitt) and stays in Kim's bedroom where he half falls in love with her photograph. Although many in the neighbourhood are suspicious of him, Edward uses his scissorhands to cut amazing shapes out of box hedges and bushes and eventually turns his skills to haircutting. At a Christmas Ball he attends, Edward is deliberately plied with alcohol. In the melee he cuts the face of a friend and is pursued by everyone to the graveyard where he and. Kim hide and embrace. The dance of the Halloween revellers is as exciting as a scene out of West Side Story. We switch to a town in middle America where the families emerge from their fresh painted bungalows, each a symmetrical mother and father and two children. The Boggs and the Monroes are very similar to each other except that Joyce Monroe (Michela Meazza) is a highly sexed siren with a husband (Steve Kirkham) who is more interested in jogging than indoor sports. The Upton family are electioneering, all-American flag waving patriots led by Mayor Franklyn Upton III (Gareth Charlton) and the sinister Evercreeches are the vicar, Rev Judas Evercreech (Matthew Malthouse), his judgmental wife Esmeralda (Rachel Morrow) and his Goth children of whom the daughter Marilyn-Ann (Shelby Williams) steals the family show. Then there are the Grubb family, poorer and not quite fitting in with this aspiring neighbourhood. The inspirational choreography thrills and amazes. At one point the religious Everceech wife forms a crucifix, the Monroe and Blogg husbands run off on competitive jogs, the children race around as children tend to. Towards the end of the first act, there is a formal ballet in which all the participants are dark green, carved shapes of privet hedges covering their faces and bodies in an elegant celebration of a formal garden. I liked too the ice skating scene, a Matthew Bourne speciality. The Christmas Ball is a grand occasion with everyone displaying their finery and dancing in pairs. Another witty scene is when Edward becomes Edwardo the moustachioed rakish white jacketed barber who cuts hair into innovative shapes. The film music and the tunes are soaring or jaunty, deeply romantic and poignant. Danny Elfman's original film music is there but composer and arranger Terry Davies has added more. Les Brotherston has gone to town with his sets and costumes. The graveyard has tons of Gothic detail but the suburban American houses are pastel colours and delightful. The topiary shapes are beautiful, a elephants head with raised trunk, a dinosaur, the head of an eagle. At the barbecue, the families sizzle behind white picket fences and they wear the fruitiest of fabrics, bunches of cherries and apples and strawberries. I cannot adequately describe the visual impact of this production. You will have to see it for yourself. At the end during the curtain call, there is snow, real snow, not the paper kind but wet snow which falls onto the cast and some of the audience, magical!

Laura Hitchcock's Los Angeles Review
Sam Archer in Edward Scissorhands
Sam Archer in Edward Scissorhands
(Photo:Bill Cooper)
Nutcracker, move over! The classic Christmas ballet that has been a staple for generations confronts a cutting edge rival in Matthew Bourne's adaptation of Tim Burton's film Edward Scissorhands at the Ahmanson. "It couldn't be a re-creation of the film. I'm not into those kinds of productions," Bourne said in an interview for Performances and anyone who saw his last production at the Ahmanson, Play Without Words based on Harold Pinter's film The Servant, can attest to that. The most striking difference from the dark poignance of the film is the use of color in the sets and costumes designed by Lez Brotherston —would you believe pastels! The delicate colors in the little houses in Anywhere, USA, reflect a pastel life, relieved by the pulsing sexuality of budding teens and restless housewives. The second major difference is the adolescent ebullience of the ballet. The topiary trees cut by Edward are danced by the cast with a dignity befitting greenery. Attention has been paid to suburban stereotypes. The Boggs are a "Father Knows Best" family whose cheery mom Peg adopts Edward and whose daughter Kim wins his heart. Mrs. Joyce Monroe is the neighborhood vamp with a name too obviously an allusion to Marilyn. Mayor Franklin Upton III and Rev. Judas Evercreech, symbolize politics and family religion. The Covitts and the Grubbs, with equally Dickensian names, round out the neighborhood. The Inventor who creates Edward appears briefly in the early scenes, unlike the film's Vincent Price who made each of his scenes memorable. The taunting teen-agers and narrow-minded neighbors are predictably depicted. What makes it all work is the vulnerable yearning expressed by Richard Winsor (who alternates with Sam Archer) as Edward in a performance that combines intuitive acting and athletic grace with the challenge of mastering 20-inch blades attached to spring-loaded gloves. This breathless feat comes off perfectly throughout the ballet. It's pure Bourne and we applaud him for giving new life to Edward Scissorhands. If it's not as stunning as Bourne's Swan Lake, that may be because that was an original concept. The ballet begins at Hallowe'en when bizarrely costumed trick-or-treaters break into the mansion of Edward's inventor and ends at Christmas among snowflakes and decorations. Edward fits in very well with these annual rituals whose pagan origins have survived in today's calendar. He is an object of fascination— used for what he can do, duped, persecuted by Kim's jealous boyfriend, and finally disappearing. The ballet is bracketed, as the film was, by Kim as an old woman limping on stage with her cane shadowed by the image of Edward. Both Tim Burton and Matthew Bourne have seen Edward Scissorhands as an image of the outsider who combines the desire to belong with the ability to destroy. It's a wonderful concept, worth doing and well done.
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