Edward Scissor - Greasepaint and stage Lights - Musicals

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Edward Scissorhands
UK Tour
Milton Keynes
(Review Complete)

Plot: “Edward Scissorhands" is a ballet that tells the poignant and whimsical story of Edward, a young man created by a mad scientist who gives him scissor-like hands. Living in isolation, Edward is discovered by a kind-hearted woman, Peg, who brings him into her suburban community. As Edward navigates the challenges of fitting into society, he forms a unique connection with Peg's daughter, Kim. The ballet beautifully explores themes of love, acceptance, and the struggle to belong in a world that often misunderstands the extraordinary. With breathtaking choreography and a captivating narrative, "Edward Scissorhands" promises an enchanting and emotionally resonant experience for its audience.

Set: The set was impressive for a touring production as there was so much of it. There were often moments of stark contrast such as the backdrop of a classic American small-town, followed by an abandoned gothic mansion or indeed a graveyard. The set was slightly cartoonish but only in a way that gave the performance a particular aesthetic, not in the way that it made it seem like a show for children. Not only was the set true to the movie but it was also true to Tim Burton and his weird-yet-wonderful style.

Review: Having seen only a select amount of ballets in my life, I did not know what to expect when attending Mathew Bourne’s ‘Edward Scissorhands’. In this mesmerising production presented through mixed mediums of dance, a captivating narrative weaved the beginning of Edward’s downfall and his subsequent resurrection. Upon being shot by lightning when he was a boy, his devoted (if not eccentric) scientist father sought out a way of bringing him back to life. This was an excellent introduction to the show as not only did it set a gothic tone for the rest of the performance, but Edward’s first new steps into the world felt all the more charming when told through the art form of ballet.

The dance sequence delving into Edward's introduction to regular American society displayed a perfect blend of comedy and self-awareness. Playfully mocking clichéd American family archetypes, the performance managed to tread the fine line between keeping things comical but still being able to take the show seriously. Particularly delightful was the scene where Edward, tucked into bed, dreamt of a group of cheerleaders teaching him how to dance. The fact that the girls danced with their pom-poms and Edward danced with his scissors made for a wholesome side-by-side and established from the very beginning that all Edward ever wanted was to fit in with those around him.

Remarkably, the characterisation of each dancer in the expansive cast exhibited brilliance, believability, and uniqueness specific to each role. Despite the large ensemble, the absence of any weak links allowed for a seamless immersion into the diverse personalities portrayed on stage. Noteworthy was the fact that seldom did dancers have the same choreography, which meant that there were multiple stories happening on stage at the same time. For example, even while the plot was not focused on them, the ensemble were always doing something comical in the background like spying on neighbours, or making a mess of mowing the lawn, which helped to create a sense you really were watching the goings-on of a quirky neighbourhood.

While the ensemble numbers displayed cohesion and precision, a minor critique lies in the lengthiness of some group sequences. These instances, though entertaining, did little to advance the overarching narrative, potentially testing the audience's patience. Another small distraction emerged in the form of the audible plastic scissor noises emanating from Edward's hands, inadvertently breaking the illusion of the fact that he was supposed to have razor sharp metal fingers.

As the second act unfolded into a festive Christmas setting, the set design flawlessly captured the magical essence of Tim Burton's stylistic roots. The pacing of the Christmas party segment, from the preparations of the teenagers to the climactic confrontation between Edward and Kim’s jealous lover, Jim, was masterfully executed. The choreography of the ensuing fight scene was particularly commendable, keeping the outcome suspenseful until the last moment, heightened by the added attention to detail of using fake blood.

The true zenith of the performance was the emotionally-charged duet between Kim and Edward, a poignant moment where their feelings for each other were finally acknowledged. The synergy of music, lighting, and choreography created an undeniably beautiful spectacle, captivating the audience in its entirety. One thing that allowed for unwanted ambiguity was what came of Edward soon after. I won’t spoil it for those of you who wish to see the show but what I will say is it was not exactly clear what happened to Edward in the end as if  You blink for even a second, you’ll miss where he went and be left to wonder why he vanished into thin air. Better direction could have been given to avoid potential confusion.

Even during the curtain call, the cast remained in character, adding an extra layer of depth to the immersive experience. The final farewell was made all the more enchanting as snow gently descended upon the auditorium, enhancing the overall charm of the production. Despite occasional imperfections, "Edward Scissorhands" proves to be a performance accessible and enjoyable for all, transcending the boundaries of dance appreciation. Its aesthetic beauty and well-crafted plot ensure a thoroughly enjoyable experience, and I would happily watch it again.

5 stars out of 5
Reviewer: Claudia Lynch.
Greasepaint and Stage Lights

Email: musicals@btinternet.com
website: www.greasepaintandstagelights.co.uk
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