A review by Cliff Homewood
Edward Scissorhands is among my favourite movies, so wanted to see the stage show. I had not heard of Michael Bourne, famous choreographer, and by the time I learnt this was interpretive dance it was too late to cancel. At minimum it has a great soundtrack. I was impressed by the beginning: the set design is magnificent, with a gothic house and an Americana town beneath. I started to notice story differences. I’m happy to give leeway but it ended up eviscerating the tale. The second half was near enough one big dance number with little story left. I found myself thinking that I couldn’t applaud this whilst everybody else did, ending in a standing ovation. We didn’t even get to enjoy the great film soundtrack throughout as Bourne adds his own music (of course). The one song I remember from the film, With these Hands, is gone, replaced with an original number. Whatever the reason for Bourne adding new music and story – perhaps for rights reasons – whenever he veers from the original, the quality drops. If you have perfection don’t mess with it, the original soundtrack could carry anything.
I wondered how they would do the romantic scene of Kim and Edward’s eyes meeting through the TV set. They didn’t. All small intimate moments were jettisoned. The fact there is no dialogue in this show indicates how it lacks such depth. On a positive note, there are a couple of setting lines portrayed on screen which work well.
Having since seen Danny Boyle’s Free Your Mind, which contains even less of its source (The Matrix), dance is obviously the wrong medium for me. I want less dance and more talking. It made me appreciate how faithful the superb Back To The Future Musical is, even down to doing the van at the beginning.
Edward Scissorhands is cut to pieces. Your enjoyment depends on expectations as it still has something. The tale is still touching.
As River Song would day, ahead lay Spoilers Sweetie.
To get into my disdain for this production I need to get into the minutiae of story changes. The first I noticed was the inventor resurrecting his son, making the story feel even more Frankensteinian. Is Edward now a hybrid of boy and machine? This wasn’t clear and not of concern as we soon forget he built Edward anyway. The inventor no longer dies of something intimate and personal like a heart attack, but a home invasion, involving more dancing. Here we start to see the trend, from small and intimate to large and embellished. I was impressed with how they then achieved the neighbourhood, everybody driving around in different styles in their mimed cars. It worked beautifully, a nice bit of staging. Here we meet the darker looking religious family. For a moment I thought they had delightfully embellished on the character of Esmerelda, but she’s not in it. She added drama and darkness to the bright and breezy first half, “It’s not heaven he’s from! It’s straight from the stinking flames of hell! The power of Satan is in him, I can feel it.”
The first half is enjoyable, evoking the film reasonably well, from pruning hedges to poodles, all present and correct. It starts to go wrong with the haircuts, this is where the seeds of Edward’s doom was laid out. The seductress scene is there, but Edward goes along with it, Edward is being played for laughs. Jettisoning the whole plot where Ed spurns her and thus in spite she starts turning people against him. The reason for his fall in this? Bullies push him into a christmas tree and it electrocutes him (really!) When he defends himself he accidentally cuts one of them. Although this does tie in neatly with the ultimate fate of the boyfriend in the original.
I also realised: isn’t Kim a bitch? End of film, a misunderstanding, he is run out of town and retreats to his castle for a lonely rest of his life. And she just says I never saw him again, if she loved him wouldn’t she try again and again, knowing he is hurt and feeling guilty, and not give up? Or have I got an overly romantic view of love?