When it comes to Tim Burton films, I’ve always been a much bigger fan of his earlier work as I credit those for introducing me to a world that ultimately accepted those of us who were strange and unusual. The film that really drove that idea home for me was Burton’s 1990 film, Edward Scissorhands, which centered around a man equipped with scissors for hands who is brought out of isolation into a new world filled with people who try to understand him. What I loved so much about this movie was that it taught people about acceptance and understanding in a world that is so heavily focused on judging those who are different.
Since its debut in 1990, there have been a multitude of stage adaptations of the dark fantasy film, and luckily for me, I recently had the chance to check out a musical parody of this timeless classic. Presented by Fuse Project, SCISSORHANDS: A MUSICAL takes place at the famed Rockwell Table & Stage in Los Angeles and is a modern re-telling of Tim Burton’s fantastical story. Using modern songs and unique props, the performers were able to brilliantly bring to life a story near and dear to my heart.
I’ve always been rather impressed with productions that can imagine so much with minimal props and the same can be said for SCISSORHANDS: A MUSICAL. Located in the middle of Rockwell Table & Stage was a singular stage where the majority of the show took place. However, if you like your productions a bit more immersive, you’ll be glad to know that the show, as a whole, takes place all around you. They even go so far as to use the audience as props which was rather hilarious. Because the performances were so astounding and the descriptions of events so detailed, it was easy to paint a picture of the surrounding scenery. One of my favorite aspects of the show was how they were able to make it snow within the building. Mind you, it’s not real snow, but the way in which they executed that made you feel as though you were in a winter wonderland.
As I mentioned above, the performances were astounding. Each and every actor brought their A-game while belting out tune after tune flawlessly. In the pivotal role of Scissorhands, actress Jordan Kai Burnett perfectly rode that fine line of being sheltered and naive to the new world ahead. She made the character her own, and though Johnny Depp’s shoes are quite big to fill, she embraced the character and brought her own flair to the stage. Also of note was actress Emma Hunton, who portrayed Peg, the motherly figure to Scissorhands. Beyond being hilarious, her voice was show-stopping and you could see the passion roll out of her each and every time she was on stage. Though I highlighted two performers, that’s not to say the rest of the cast doesn’t deserve acclaim, as they absolutely do. Each performer worked in tandem with the next so that each routine was seamless and fluid. What really struck me as as an indication of a show well directed was that each performer, and their accompanying character, had enough quirks and style to set themselves apart from each other.
As I’m sure you can tell, I can’t say enough good things about this show. With a cast made up of predominantly of females, along with switches in gender roles, and a focus on LGBTQ+, SCISSORHANDS themes are incredibly relevant to today’s society. Add in modern songs from artists such as Aerosmith, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Nirvana, and more, you’ll find yourself hard pressed to not sing along with each unfolding performance. It just so happened that the day we went there was a special person in the audience who was very familiar with Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands. Sitting directly in front of me on the opposite side of the stage was actor Anthony Michael Hall who played the original Jim in the film. He was there as an attendee and we got the chance to speak with him after the show, in which he showered numerous praises for the production. It just goes to show that SCISSORHANDS: A MUSICAL is a show that is not to be missed!
By popular demand, “Fuse Project’s Edward Scissorhands” run will be extended on Saturday and Sundays through the end of January. The hit show “The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Stranger Things” will come back on Thursday and Friday nights for January 2019 and then go back to four shows, Thursday - Sunday in February. Please go to www.Rockwell-LA.com for times and tickets.