Mathew Bourne's Edward Scissorhands is an exquisite dance presentation of the story from the popular film of the same name. The tale of the ultimate outsider, befriended by an open-hearted family, but eventually banished due to misunderstanding and mob fear has a mystical quality that lends itself well to the balletic choreography (Bourne), fantastical set and costume design (Lez Brotherston), and ethereal music (Terry Davies, including themes from the film by Danny Elfman) in this stage adaptation. A talented and expressive cast is the cherry on top. Unfortunately, the lush sound of a live orchestra is sorely missed as we must make do with pre-recorded music.
Edward (Sam Archer) is a Frankensteinish creation, whose origin is presented a bit haphazardly. However, it's not the details that are important; even without seeing the film, we can all sense the naive innocence and inherent goodness in the character. Peg Boggs (Rachel Morrow) takes Edward in, accepting him without hesitation, in an extension of her trusting nature. Husband Bill (Scott Ambler) and son Kevin (Gavin Eden) appear to be amused, yet welcoming. Daughter Kim (Kerry Biggin) is conflicted; her inherited compassion clashes with her boyfriend Jim's (James Leece) distrust and jealousy. The community, in their pastel-colored tract home neighborhood, welcome Edward at first, and take advantage of his talents (in landscaping and hair styling) until a spark of fear and resentment spreads like a well-fueled fire.
Each cast member creates a full character, even without dialogue. All dance perfectly, presenting the story with emotion and expressiveness. Archer and Biggin are stand-outs; he must act beyond the constraining costume and she must show a transition from a girl who doesn't think for herself to a young woman who ignores the prejudice around her. The other members of the Boggs family are depicted well, too, as are the neighbors and friends, with Michela Meazza as local flirt Joyce an expected standout.
In this 2-hour show, we get the basics of the story; many of the film scenes are omitted, but they are not missed. This production gets to the heart of the tale, and the interludes of Bourne's stunning choreography are resonant. A few details may be difficult to discern, particularly at the end, for those who have not seen the film, but there is much to enjoy for all.
Edward Scissorhands played Pittsburgh's Benedum Center January 12-14. The tour continues to Washington, D.C. and St. Louis in February and March.