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Exceptional, but twisted ballet

ALEX MILLER

DENVER – Tim Burton may have just been constructing an elaborate metaphor when he created the character of Edward Scissorhands in his 1990 film of the same name. But it’s hard not to take Edward’s, er, digit-challenged soul at face value. He does, after all, have a hard time touching people in the usual way.It’s only logical that the man to take Edward into the theater would be the iconoclastic choreographer Matthew Bourne, who rocked the dance and theater world in 1995 with his gay version of “Swan Lake.” In his extraordinary adaptation of “Edward Scissorhands,” Bourne takes away the words and creates a ballet version of what distills down to a timeless tale: boy with no chance of winning girl somehow wins girl – for a moment, at least.

The touring production of “Edward Scissorhands” is making a brief stop at the Denver Center, with shows through this Sunday. I suggest to those who’d like to experience an entertainment quite unlike anything you’ve ever seen make it down the hill. “Edward Scissorhands” is an extraordinary piece of work, a major accomplishment of choreography, set decoration, costuming and other theater magic all set to the variations on the original, darkly soaring film score by long-time Burton collaborator Danny Elfman.If ballet isn’t your thing (and it typically isn’t mine), go anyway. Bourne’s work is that rare thing that transcends its genre and truly breaks down walls to go where he felt he needed to tell the story. At times, there’s so much going on onstage I wished I had a Tivo to pause it and watch again. Interspersed with the big numbers, the tender moments and the obligatory plot-point scenes are some others that are really quite funny.

As Burton did, Bourne sets the stage in a sort of suburban-bizarro realm, where 1950s-style idylls are rendered in brilliant colors and exaggerated to within an inch of their lives. Huge smiles, frilly dresses and white socks pulled up to the knees portray the whitest-of-the-white landscape into which the leather-clad, be-scissored Edward steps.It’s quite a matchup, and one not to be missed.

If you gon What: “Edward Scissorhands,” contemporary ballet

n Where: Buell Theatre, Denvern When: Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m.n Tickets: $24-$65, (800) 641-1222 or online at http://www.denvercenter.org


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