Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Seattle

Edward Scissorhands
Clips into the 5th Avenue Theatre

Richard Winsor and Kerry Biggin
The hardest thing to get across to audiences at the 5th Avenue Theatre, where the Matthew Bourne dance extravaganza is concerned, is that this show is not the latest movie to Broadway musical to come to town. A certain percentage of the opening night audience were apparently so dismayed that this wasn't another Hairspray or The Wedding Singer that they departed at intermission. Their loss, as this is a frequently dazzling, always interesting adaptation of the Tim Burton movie (which starred Johnny Depp).

Though the co-adaptation (from Burton's story and screenplay) by Caroline Thompson plays loosely with the creation of Edward himself, the large part of the story is the same bittersweet tale of Edward's attempt to fit into an archetypal suburban enclave, circa the late sixties, and his ill-fated love for Kim, the daughter of the Boggs family he comes to live with.

Several pieces of Bourne's staging are simply outstanding, notably a Halloween sequence, a suburban ballet, the topiary garden, Edwardo the Barber, and the Annual Christmas Ball. All of these are set to either Danny Elfman's haunting musical themes from the film, or the very complementary scoring and arrangements by Terry Davies. And the amazing cast of dancers all make spoken word or songs virtually unnecessary.

The opening night cast (most roles are doubled in the production) featured the amazingly skillful and soulful Richard Winsor in the title role. As the Boggs family, Madelaine Brennan, Scott Ambler, Hannah Vassallo, and Drew McOnie are impeccable. It is hard to single out individual members of the remaining ensemble, as all are as strong on character as they are in terms of movement.

Musical director Andrew Bryan leads a strong 13-piece orchestra. Eye-popping costumes and sets designed by Lez Brotherson eerily create the mood of the show, abetted by Howard Harrison's top-notch lighting design. The production is an altogether handsome and skillful effort, and, as long as you go into the theatre with proper expectations, it will be a rewarding one as well.

Edward Scissorhands runs through May 13, 2007 at the 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 5th Avenue in downtown Seattle. For more information visit the 5th Avenue Theatre on-line at

Photo: Bill Cooper

- David-Edward Hughes

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