Yesterday evening, a select group of YA-lovers gathered to enjoy an evening of fantastic dance and storytelling. Edward Scissorhands is Sadler’s Wells’ Christmas ballet this year. I had seen it once previously, during its first run, but having hugely enjoyed recent New Adventures revivals including Matthew Bourne’s iconic Swan Lake, as well as his magical reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, I was excited to see how this unusual adaptation of a Tim Burton film would have evolved.
Before the performance, the #BalletYA group assembled at Niche for a pre-theatre meal. In attendance were Jim of yayeahyeah.com and one of the masterminds behind @meetUKYA, Annalie (http://ajgrainger.com), Sarah (http://andthenireadabook.blogspot.co.uk) and Charlie (http://charlieinabook.tumblr.com). Niche is described on its website as a place for ‘casual dining’; it was a great place to meet up, chat and eat before the performance. It’s small but light, bright and modern, with lots of fairy lights, and a great menu of tasty things to choose from. I’d definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a pre-ballet bite to eat, although you’re definitely best to book.
After dinner and a catch-up, we headed five minutes along the road and took our seats in the second circle of Sadler’s Wells theatre, ready for the show. Jim did a great job spotting these tickets well in advance. We were right at the back but still had a fantastic view of the stage, totally unobstructed, for the whole performance. For the view, and a brilliant evening in London only a week before Christmas, it was really a bargain.
I’m so glad I did see Edward Scissorhands again; I’m not sure how much has been changed and developed but I actually enjoyed it a lot more this time than on my first visit. There’s the poignancy of the original story itself – the outsider who’s feared because he’s different, accepted for a time due to his special talent, but can’t escape the prejudices of Western society – all told with Matthew Bourne’s originality, humour and tenderness. The music, which includes the classic theme by Danny Elfman, adds to the atmosphere, but I spent most of the time with huge admiration from the dancers who created such vivid characters through their movement, especially Edward and Kim (Dominic North and Ashley Shaw). Bourne’s trademark fluid and open choreography, which also plays with rock’n’roll, jive and even cheerleading, is combined with close observation of Johnny Depp’s characterisation of Edward to create wonderfully immersive physical theatre, communicating vulnerability, excitement and even love.
I still think Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty will remain my favourite New Adventures productions, but Edward Scissorhands is most definitely worth a visit, for dance fans and newbies alike. We all agreed, as the curtain went down, that we really felt that Christmas had arrived.