For many, the knowledge that Tim Burton’s epic fable Edward Scissorhands is coming to the stage is enough to get the pulse racing. Add to that the knowledge that this is a Matthew Bourne production and it might just cause a few coronaries.
Bourne, one of Britain’s most critically praised yet widely accessible choreographers, is the man who brought Swan Lake into the 21st century with an all-male interpretation of the classic. His piece Play Without Words won the award for Best Entertainment at the Oliviers and his reinvention of the Nutcracker became the first ballet to be screened on BBC1 in over 20 years.
He has now turned his eye to the much-adored 90s film, Edward Scissorhands, transforming it into a musical theatre piece that substitutes all the words with stunning dance sequences, moments of pantomime and a soaring score, created specifically through a collaboration between the film’s original composer Danny Elfman and Bourne’s long-time collaborator Terry Davies. The result has stunned British audiences and now Australians have the chance to see it at the Opera House.
In an interview with The Independent‘s theatre critic, David Benedict, Bourne explained his attraction to the film as an unlikely candidate for a musical theatre interpretation. It is a love story whose central character is the ultimate outsider.
It is a love story with obstacles. And it has a sense of humour, he said.
Two worlds collide: the strangeness of the Gothic horror and this colourful land of suburbia with all its social comedy of observation.
We’re not trying for something better than the original, but something theatrical. It sounds obvious but things really change when you dance. When I first began work I looked at the climactic kiss between Edward and Kim and I thought that must come at the end of a big duet. But I realised I was wrong. We start with that and take it further -“ we have to say it in dance.
Bourne’s interpretation only adds to the sense of wonder and beauty that abounds in the Burton film as Edward’s tree sculptures come to life and the music takes on new dimensions to become an integral part of the storytelling. For Burton and Bourne fans alike, this is sure to be an exciting event.