In the film of the same name, Edward Scissorhands is a person created by an inventor, like Pinocchio or Commander Data.

Tragically, Edward's creator died before he could replace the assembly of scissors with the real hands for which they were meant as a temporary substitute. As in the other myths of imperfect creation, the creature must come to terms with what makes him other than fully human: being made of wood and having no internal conscience, being made of silicon and having no internal emotions, or in this case being made partially of metal and having no real hands.

The other myths, however, lack Danny Elfman's scoring -- perhaps my favorite among his works -- and have much fewer topiary sculptures.

I sort of fell in love with Tim Burton for creating such a creature. Johnny Depp is perfect as Edward; he is achingly affecting and unbearably pretty. He is silent to the point where you would kill somebody just to hear his sweet, gorgeous voice; it truly is frustrating. Mostly though, he says it all with his bright black eyes. He has that frozen, scarred face, and the black, childlike smile.

He lived alone in a gothic, musty mansion with a fantastic collection of topiary animals that he sculpted himself with his scissors for hands. He was created when a lonely inventor, engaged in fancified cooking experiments, decided to turn one of his cookie-cutting machines into a companion to chat with and instruct in the wonders of art, poetry and etiquette. But just before he can finish Edward off, he drops dead, and Edward never gets real hands. He is alone in a world he knows only from the old magazine clippings he keeps near his bed of straw.

I cried every time his face broke when the pastel coloured Florida neighbours ostracised him. I cried when he tried to comfort those he loved, only to draw blood. When Kim, the girl he loves, reaches out to Edward, he pulls back his sharp, cold hands in despair. The memory of the way she then wraps his arms around her & holds him satisfies us all even though the ending is heart wrenching and sombre. Edward then embarks upon a life poignant solitude reminiscent of Batman atop of Gotham tower.

We find out that it was Edward who created snow. Slivers of ice from his furious sculptures fell down upon the neighbourhood. That was supposed to be a consolation. It wasn't. I wanted him to live his life with Kim.


The gorgeous cinematography was by Stefan Czapsky.

Cast:
Johnny Depp.... Edward Scissorhands
Winona Ryder.... Kim Boggs
Dianne Wiest.... Peg Boggs
Anthony Michael Hall.... Jim
Kathy Baker.... Joyce Monroe
Robert Oliveri.... Kevin Boggs
Conchata Ferrell.... Helen
Caroline Aaron.... Marge
Dick Anthony Williams.... Officer Allen
O-Lan Jones.... Esmeralda
Vincent Price.... The Inventor
Alan Arkin.... Bill Boggs
Susan Blommaert.... Tinka
Linda Perri.... Cissy
John Davidson (II).... Host - TV
Biff Yeager.... George
Marti Greenberg.... Suzanne
Bryan Larkin.... Max
John McMahon.... Denny
Victoria Price.... TV Newswoman
Stuart Lancaster.... Retired Man
Gina Gallagher.... Granddaughter
Aaron Lustig.... Psychologist
Alan Fudge.... Loan Officer
Steven Brill.... Dishwasher Man
Peter Palmér (I).... Editor
Marc Macaulay.... Reporter
Carmen J. Alexander.... Reporter
Brett Rice.... Reporter
Andrew B. Clark.... Beefy Man
Kelli Crofton.... Pink Girl
Linda Jean Hess.... Older Woman/TV
Rosalyn Thomson.... Young Woman/TV
Lee Ralls.... Red-Haired Woman/TV
Eileen Meurer.... Teenage Girl/TV
Bea Albano.... Rich Widow/TV
Donna Pieroni.... Blonde/TV
Ken DeVaul.... Policeman
Michael Gaughan.... Policeman
Tricia Lloyd.... Teenage Girl
Kathy Dombo.... Other Teen
Rex Fox.... Police Sergeant
Sherry Ferguson.... Max's Mother
Tabetha Thomas.... Little Girl on Bike

He hides. He stares. He cuts. He sings?

You can see where the impulse might come from. The imperfect, unfinished man, whose wish to love and be loved is tragically thwarted by his own inability to do anything but cut and slice and hurt. A tragic figure, a noble stand-in for our own self-image tainted by the pain we inflict on others and the abandonment we've felt. Why not have him voice his pain in music? Why not craft his loneliness into a haunting aria that implores heaven to relieve him of his misery?

Why not, indeed?

Edward Scissorhands: the Opera!
Two problems: although the character of Edward is the stuff of opera, opera doesn't borrow from the movies. That kind of recycling is so, well, so Broadway. Second, the story veers too much between tragedy and comedy. This is Pinocchio, writ large, a story for kids. Kids don't listen to opera. What you want here is family entertainment, like Annie!

Edward Scissorhands: the Musical!
He cuts, he sings, he dances. Danny Elfman is on board. Caroline Thompson, who wrote the screenplay, starts to write lyrics. Tim Burton himself shops the idea around.
Problem: Been there, done that. Elfman and Burton: the Musical? It was called The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Still, if Daddy wants to give his favorite baby new life, it's his prerogative. He keeps asking. There's got to be a way. So who do you call to put the twisted imagination of the "phantom of the Warner lot" on the stage? Who ya gonna call?

Who else but the Damien Hirst of the dance world?

Matthew Bourne, the bad boy of ballet, he of the all-male Swan Lake (glimpsed in Billy Elliot) and the prince-less Cinderella set in London during the Blitz. He's willing to take on a musical.

No, no, no, says Burton. You're a choreographer. You can't direct a Broadway musical. Sure, Swan Lake, but that's all dancing.... you're just telling a story nonverbally... hold on... no, it's crazy... there's no way... but, then again... could it... it just might work!

Edward Scissorhands: the Ballet!
It may have been his Nutcracker, or it may have been Play Without Words, but whatever Burton had seen of Bourne's work he knew instinctively that a wordless dance story, the kind that Bourne excels at, that's what Edward needed (Okay, maybe not instinctively. Bourne pitched the idea eight years ago). Elfman agreed.

And so, with Terry Davies adding new music to Elfman's original score, Bourne's company, New Adventures, sank £1.3 million into a short run of Edward Scissorhands in Plymouth in November 2005, and a run at Sadler Wells in London, which opened November 30. A UK tour began in February 2006.

Bourne vets Richard Winsor and Sam Archer alternate in the title role, with Kerry Biggin and Hannah Vassallo alternating in the part of Kim. Bourne stalwarts Scott Ambler and Etta Murfitt will dance as Bill and Peg (Kim's parents) in addition to serving as the show's associate directors.

Another familiar Bourne Collaborator, Lez Brotherston has created the set and costumes, and rounding out the creative team, Howard Harrison designed the lights and Paul Groothuis the sound.

Surprisingly, the ballet does not include the character of "The Inventor," played by Vincent Price in the film, just one of the changes in the stage scenario that differs from the screen version. Brotherston designed the costumes of the suburban families to a 1950's look, instead of Burton's 1980's aesthetic. In the film, the topiary sculpted by Edward did not start dancing. Another way this version is different: although the character of Edward Scissorhands himself cannot speak, in Bourne's version the rest of the cast do not speak (although their characters can-- if that makes sense).

The Guardian called it, "a cracking piece of theatre. Superbly cast, steeped in stage tradition..." (Judith Macrell). The Times found it "amusing and attractive, an entertaining story well told," if a little slight in the choreography department on opening night.

Sources:
Edward Scissorhands Web site. <http://www.edwardscissorhands.co.uk> (October 17, 2005)
"Edward Scissorhands." New Adventures Web Site. <http://www.new-adventures.net/index.php?PageID=102> (October 17, 2005)
"n-Joy: Matthew Bourne Interview." BBC.co.uk. July 5, 2005. < http://www.bbc.co.uk/norfolk/content/articles/2005/05/06/nn_festival_matthew_bourne_feature.shtml> (October 17, 2005)
Debra Crane, "First Night Reviews, Dance: Edward Scissorhands." The Times Online. December 1, 2005. <http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,14936-1899019,00.html> (December 14, 2005)
Ernio Hernandez, "Matthew Bourne Edward Scissorhands to Tour UK Following London Debut." Playbill.com August 22, 2005. <http://www.playbill.com/news/article/94672.html> (October 17, 2005)
Judith Mackrell, "Edward Scissorhands." The Guardian. Decmeber 1, 2005. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/critic/review/0,,1654928,00.html> (December 14, 2005)
Tony Phillips. "Bourne Again." The Village Voice. March 7, 2005. < http://www.villagevoice.com/dance/0510,phillips,61829,14.html> (October 17, 2005)

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