It has taken eight years for the concept of Edward Scissorhands to be passed from Tim Burton into the loving hands of Matthew Bourne. It has been cherished and protected by all of those who come into contact with the tale of Edward. Fortunately Bourne’s version is no slapdash stage appropriation of the film but a loving re-invention of the story into a dance spectacular.
Tim had to believe that what I was going to do was different from the film. Everyone who worked on the film was very protective of it. They had to trust me. It took eight years of meetings, so this really has been a labour of love, Bourne told Sydney Star Observer.
Famous for his ability to transform classic texts into modern ballets, Matthew Bourne has approached this piece with the same level of creativity and enthusiasm he did Swan Lake. Extending the piece to provide Edward with more of a back story and utilising the contrasting elements of suburbia meets Goth to create a visually stunning ballet, Bourne’s piece is a totally new concept which will appeal as much to Burton fans as anyone else.
It is very important to me when I create a piece that it has to make complete sense to whoever is watching. They don’t have to have seen the film and they don’t need to have a prior knowledge of the language of dance. What I want is for the audience to feel it to the point where they can imagine what the characters are saying. That way they get a lot more involved, he said.
Edward was, in a way, a perfect character to be transformed into a dance piece. Even in the film he’s quite silent. He’s almost Charlie Chaplin-like. So it really allowed me to do what I’ve been doing for the past 20 years -“ telling stories without words.
I was drawn to Edward because he is such an outsider. I like stories about outsiders because they’re a good way to get an audience rooting for the character to triumph, and Edward really is the ultimate outsider that anyone who has ever felt different or out of place can relate to.
Edward Scissorhands plays the Opera House 29 May-14 June. Bookings 9250 7777. For group bookings contact 9250 7700. For general information about playing times nationwide, see www.edwardscissorhands.com.au.