Although I have respect for the artistic content of the piece, in my mind, Edward Scissorhands didn't translate well on the Mayflower stage, and left me feeling disappointed, rather than satisfied at having seen a beautiful ballet.
I didn’t think that I would ever be writing that I was disappointed in a ballet, let alone one of Matthew Bourne’s pieces. Yet here I sit, pondering how I must be one of the only people to have left the Mayflower Theatre feeling somewhat disheartened, and questioning whether or not a standing ovation (which was given) was deserved.
The moment the music began, I smiled, happy and hopeful. Immediately, dancers descended upon the stage, and my smile turned into a grin. I sat back, and became enthralled in this woeful tale of love.
Sadly, the bubble was burst quite quickly. I hope that it won’t be a spoiler when I say that Edward’s father dies quite near to the beginning of this story. It was the moment just after his death, when a thin curtain came down, and dancers began to grab attention in the front once more, when IT happened. I could quite easily see the dancer playing the father stand up, and walk off stage. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that he must have a way offstage, and am not at all vilifying him for being visible, but it burst the bubble as I said, and set me up to notice numerous flaws throughout the performance.
From the dancers being slightly off time in a way that cried ‘cringe worthy moment’ rather than ‘artistic’, to the lack of ‘ballet’ as a laymen would know it, I slowly grew to question everything. The skills of the dancers and choreographer are not being brought into contention here, but I found myself thinking that any slightly more flexible person could probably pull off many of the moves, and felt quite impatient waiting for the moments when Edward and Kim would be alone, and I would finally be able to see someone en pointe.
This may have been my mistake, as I came to the theatre expecting something contemporary which used many elements of the classical, but was confronted with something yes, artistic and brilliant, but somewhat underwhelming. I could say that much of the dance could have been achieved by those in an intermediate dance class, who were moderately flexible, but I should not set that in stone.
Moments that should have been impressive, such as the dancers coming onto the stage in families, so obviously reminding us of their film counterparts, were just confusing, as there were too many people on stage at one time to properly keep up… I guess there was something for everyone. I wondered what was happening during these bits, whilst thinking ‘am I watching the right couple?’ as I missed a few things.
Perhaps if I had gone on a different night, and not the first performance at the Mayflower, I would have been in a different position, all of the problems would have been worked out,… but unfortunately for me this wasn’t the case. I say this, as in my mind, and probably the minds of many, no one should sit there feeling relieved that the second half seemed much shorter than the second. Though, I did persevere and was hoping that I would stop feeling underwhelmed. Though, two girls to my right DID do the unthinkable, and didn’t return after the interval.
The highlight of the show for me, consisted of two dancers on stage. Edward and Kim, dancing together in the grounds of his father’s estate. It was everything I came to see- it was mesmerising. It was recognisable. It was ballet. If there was a reason to see this ballet again, it would be to see those two dance together once more.
I hate that I have spent this review complaining about it- I wish I could say something better. Something more positive. But… there’s a difference between going to see something unexpected, and going to see something which was hardly recognisable to you.
It was a valiant effort, but just one which didn’t work for me. I wish that I liked it, I really do, but I didn’t. It just seemed quite… dare I say it… amateurish? (blasphemy, I know!). I just feel as though they could have done better.
Edward Scissorhands has since moved the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff and tour dates can be found here.