Edward Scissorhands

At the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Saturday, March 30.

At its core, Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands is elemental: the simple tale of a gentle innocent martyred by a cruel, uncomprehending world. That simplicity, that mythic quality, is well-suited for interpretation through dance. Spared the elaborate expository pantomimes, freed from the fussiness of a complicated plot, the dancers can focus on the story’s grand emotion, which is what they’re best at portraying anyway, especially when accompanied by music as evocative as Danny Elfman’s.

So why, when it’s so unnecessary, does choreographer Matthew Bourne insist of mucking up his Edward Scissorhands ballet with cutesy silent-movie-style acting, overembellished storytelling, and flashy, distracting sets? I’m sure it’s supposed to be “accessible,” but it ends up being shallow, not just artistically but—worse—emotionally. The climax has no punch because the movements have no passion.