I was thrilled to get a chance to see a musical retelling of Edward Scissorhands, one of my favorite films. The juxtaposition of the candy-colored images and the dark heart of the story make it, in my opinion, one of the strongest of Tim Burton’s films. Unfortunately, Scissorhands: A Musical Inspired by the Film doesn’t live up to its legacy.
Produced by Kate Pazakis and Bradley Bredewig, Scissorhands: A Musical Inspired by the Film attempts to follow the plot of the movie and accentuate it with the addition of popular music. The intimate venue of Rockwell Table and Stage enhances the show’s immersive, theatre-in-the-round production. The set and staging are simple, but effective, and I really liked the very minimalistic effects created effortlessly with a handheld fan and some confetti. There are no bad seats in the house, either – the show truly takes advantage of the entire space, including a few laps!
The cast is excellent and diverse – Jordan Kai Burnett is a fantastic Edward and has palpable chemistry with Natalie Mansini, as Kim. Unfortunately, since most of the story is about the town’s reaction to Edward, there isn’t enough chance to let either Burnett or the romantic relationship shine. Emma Hunton’s Peg is sweet and likeable, and the trio of nosy neighbors, played by Carly Casey, Ryan O’Connor, and Morgan Smith are great comedic relief.
Despite the talented cast and appealing staging, however, the entire production lacks heart. The selection of songs feels random and soulless at times – like they had been chosen solely because some desired phrase was in the lyrics, not to highlight an emotional beat. That’s the only reason I can come up with for the bizarre selection of Nirvana’s All Apologies at a climactic moment, or Mad World being sung by the Inventor (Dionne Gipson) as a sort of lullaby, and the utterly out-of-character, out-of-place Best Day of My Life sung by Edward during a talk show. Other songs feel spot on, though – Kim singing Trouble When You Walked In when she dumps her emotionally manipulative boyfriend, Jim (Kier Kirkegaard), and the ensemble performing Money Money Money as Peg and Edward try to get a loan.
Ultimately, there are more misses than hits musically, and the trope-laden comedy overpowers the true heart of the story, leaving Scissorhands feeling like someone was reading an IMDB synopsis at a karaoke bar.
Scissorhands is playing through January 27th, 2019. Purchase tickets here.