Edward Scissorhands – Sadlers Wells
Sadler’s Wells is one of the world’s leading dance venues with two performance spaces, the main house theatre and the Lilian Baylis studio. With an impressive history of the present building being the sixth on the site since 1683. Boasting a large record of shows from companies such as Ballet Boyz to solo performances of Savion Glover to full scale theatre productions of Matthew Bourne’s work.
Matthew Bourne’s entrancing production of Edward Scissorhands has embedded a place in the hearts of thousands across the world since its premiere in 2005. Presenting its first major revival, Bourne takes a fresh new look at this modern fairytale, which will be revitalised for a whole new generation of art appreciators, resulting in sections of new choreography as well as new music and design.
Based on the original film by directorial genius Tim Burton with the addition of Danny Elfman and Terry Davies’ gorgeous score, this touching and hilarious love story tells the bittersweet tale of a boy left alone and unfinished in a strange world not ready to accept him for what he is. His search for love is a long and challenging process due to the lack of acceptance in the world in which he is created. Bourne mentions how the film compelled him to create this piece of theatre – for which myself, and many others are very grateful for! From this we realise, as with all of Bourne’s work, that Edward Scissorhands is not dance for dance sake, it was created to convey its morals tolerance and to reinforce the age old sentiment that ‘love is love, no matter who it’s between’.
The cast of New Adventures have to be so animated and expressive facially without becoming overly panto-esque in order for the material at hand to be taken seriously. Tonight’s cast did not disappoint. The commitment to character throughout was faultless at no point were any of the cast out of character – even during their initial bows. Liam Mower, playing Edward, was exceptional at drawing the audience in and keeping our focus and empathy throughout. All the way through untill his bow when he teetered onto stage looking a little bit bewildered, before turning to the audience to a nearly full house of standing ovations, the happiness shown from Edward for the reception from the audience is such liberation. Katy Lowenhoff as Kim Boggs is also outstanding in her role. She – for me – encapsulates what Bourne’s work is all about, having the perfect balance of the technique and performance that is required. Her acting through dance during the innovative duets that Bourne creates was flawless, both, at the end in the cemetery and around the ice sculpture, simply mesmerising.
Now, of course, one cannot review Bourne’s work without mentioning his choreography. Matthew Bourne is best known for his eloquent reworking of ballet classics, examples of this are his Highland Fling (1994), which was a reworking of La Sylphide (1832). He has also mounted major productions of Swan Lake (1995) and Cinderella (1997) – all of which were majorly successful. Bourne comments on male and female roles in society by reassigning movement sequences to dancers of the opposite sex, thereby developing the hidden sexual agenda in many rituals which are illustrated explicitly throughout many of his works. Bourne also often pulls on stereotypes during his choreography to create a humorous aspect to his work, which, for the younger generations in the audience will relate too as well as the older generations finding it funny. He is not an artist who creates dance for dance sake, all of his work is cleverly planned and there are reasons and intentions behind every move, and to me, this is what makes his work second to none and so emotionally captivating. He is a genius of the modern world of dance theatre.
The show apt for this time of year and Danny Elfman’s score is so magical. As soon as the music starts playing you are swept into the world of Edward Scissorhands. For some audience members they may find it a bit odd as Bourne’s work is very unique, however most of the audience found all the comedic aspects funny and all the emotive moments moving. So although his work is very specific it is also human, on so many levels. This is a show for all ages, the kids will be lost in the wonderful world of Edward Scissorhands this Christmas time, and all the adults taking their kids will thoroughly enjoy what it is to escape day to day life in such a fantastic piece of theatre.
Reviewed by Thomas Yates
Edward Scissorhands is playing at Sadlers Wells until 11 January 2015