Director Tim Burton is famous for making fantasy a reality on screen and Tony Award winning Stage Director and Choreographer Matthew Bourne is no exception, with his work being seen in the hit film Billy Elliot, which featured an all male cast for Swan Lake, and several other highly choreographed Broadway classics that include a modern twist.
To let you know how amazing the choreography was along with the sets, you must know that there was no speech involved in this production, just body dialogue set to Danny Elfman's original score, which, since it was done right, feels like the characters were actually "talking" the whole way through. Rollerblades, ballroom dancing, jumps, rolls - you name it and Edward Scissorhands has it and in perfectly timed form.
The clich»s in the characters were obvious, the adulterous "desperate housewife", the cheerleading "angels", the rebellious teens, and a Pharisees edge to the religious all proclaim an unsettling reminder of how categorical we are in society. If we don't know everything about someone, we box them up. Although, this was perhaps to show how anyone, like Edward, who didn't fit in the boxes we create for each other, could possibly fit into society. Yet, Edward uses his talent for trimming the latest coif, his scissorhands as scewers at the local BBQ and is a hit on the dance floor at the Christmas party. In the end, the characters leave you with a moral of "you don't have to be scared of being one of a kind".
The dream-like sets were composed by Tony Award winning Set Designer Lez Brotherston, who has also won an Olivier Award for his work on a production of Cinderella. Layers of scrims and projectors narrate the opening sequences while colours of deep purple, sky blue and moonlight delight the senses in this gothic fairytale. Stand out elements of the design included the infinity clouds, the drizzling snow towards the end of the production, and the angular pastel houses in which the actors actually come out of them, despite their small size. Depth of field was very important, in scenes like "Edwardo the Barber" where fences and a topiary bush shaped like a giraffe created great dimension while the stage action occurred in front of these monsterous props. In scenes where the townspeople were running after Edward or kids were trying to sneak into Edward's house on Halloween, the height and depth alluded to something more lurking around the corners and in the scrim of a forest touched with moonlight.
Edward Scissorhands is truly a magical production where the choreography is the best in the business and characters and colours will leave you in a state of awe.
Edward Scissorhands runs at the Hummingbird Centre in Toronto from April 4-7.
Writer: Lindsay Whitfield