It’s almost Christmas but watch out if you don’t want to get unseasonably scratched – whilst Andrew Lloyd Webber’s award-winning Cats is filling the Palladium with strikingly choreographed felines, the central figure in Matthew Bourne’s revival of his 2005 dance version of Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands wields a far more deadly set of “nail extensions” – and his aren’t retractable.
When the well-meaning inventor who’s putting him back together dies before he can complete the task, gentle, gothic Edward is thrust, unfinished, into a suburban world where everyone is wary of the sharp, shiny pairs of scissors which serve as his hands. Only in his dreams is there any possibility of romance with Kim Boggs, the daughter of the kindly, all-American family which takes him in.
Bourne does an amusing job of differentiating between the various families resident in Hope Springs – the dedicated churchgoers, an unsatisfied cougar getting extra thrills astride her washing machine. Meanwhile, Lez Brotherston’s witty designs please the eye. These include a topiary giraffe and the ice and snow sculptures which those otherwise dangerously unwieldy blades are so adept at creating. As Edward tries to gain acceptance, his scissorhands prove pretty nifty at cutting hair too.
The production is at its best with lively company numbers, but there are touching moments too – for Edward, even putting on his own pyjamas proves an impossible task.
Meanwhile, Lloyd Webber has reconvened the original Cats creative team (Trevor Nunn again directs with his customary fluidity, Gillian Lynne adds athletic choreography, John Napier provides a cats-eye view junkyard set) and has made some judicious updates. Antoine Murray, Straughan’s bad boy Rum Tum Tigger, is now a cool rapper.
Classically trained Joseph Poulton’s Mr Mistoffelees executes some dazzlingly fast-paced ballet twirls with feline agility and Dawn Williams makes a cute and kittenish Rumpleteazer. Although this is really an ensemble piece, The Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Scherzinger shines as former glamour puss Grizabella, bringing real emotion to the unforgettably poignant Memory.
Cats may no longer be the ground-breaking event it once was, but the night-time activities of its slinky moggies with their clinging costumes, woolly legwarmers and whisker-painted faces are still well worth catching.
Argyll Street, W1A 3AB
Tube: Oxford Circus
Until 28th February
Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue EC1R 4TN
Until 11th January
£12 – £55