REVIEW: Rockwell Table and Stage’s Scissorhands

Written by: Taylor Gates – December 22nd, 2019 2:17pm PT

It’s snowing in Los Angeles! More specifically, at Rockwell Table and Stage. Based on the 1990 Tim Burton film, Scissorhands is the perfect holiday outing, peppered with Christmas songs and set against the backdrop of Chadd McMillan’s festive and immersive production design.

Rockwell is perhaps best known for its gut-busting musical parodies, and Scissorhands definitely still delivers on the laughs. The main source of hilarity comes in the form of three suburban neighbors: perpetually horny Joyce (Carly Casey), brash and nosy Helen (Ryan O’Connor), and Bible-thumping, MAGA-loving Esmerelda (Daisy Eagan). Endlessly relatable (who among us doesn’t know a Heather or two?) and irresistibly fun, the trio is a true delight each time they step on stage. Highlights include a gossipy scene involving Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” and a surprise cookout featuring “Let’s Have a Kiki.”

Credit: Bryan Carpender

However, the show is also infused with writer/director Bradley Bredeweg’s (The Fosters, Good Trouble) signature social commentary (political jokes are woven throughout, and it is implied that Scissorhands is nonbinary) and heartfelt, family-centric storytelling. This is particularly evident in the way the show puts two powerful, complex matriarchs at the helm. There’s Dionne Gipson in a stunning performance as Scissorhands’ inventor, delivering a hauntingly beautiful rendition of “Dream On” and equally moving speeches about how perhaps the cruel world needs pure hearts to challenge it. 

And then there’s Emma Hunton’s Peg, who serves as the show’s grounding force. Radiating both warmth and strength, Hunton (along with Bredeweg’s nuanced writing and direction) taps into authentic emotion, bringing exceptional depth to a role that could veer into caricature territory in less capable hands. I hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her performance of “All Apologies” since I saw the show during its initial run a year ago, and I was somehow even more blown away hearing it a second time. 

Of course, at its core, Scissorhands is also a love storya gorgeous one featuring the titular character (Jordan Kai Burnett, who seamlessly toes the line of wisdom and innocence) and Kim (a perfectly-cast Natalie Masini, who brings refreshing confidence and edge to the girl-next-door role). From “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to “Shallow,” it’s genuinely touching to watch this relationship build throughout the show and culminate in a bittersweet ending. 

I’d also be remiss not to mention the fantastically douchey Keri Kirkegaard playing Kim’s boyfriend Jim. Kirkegaard sinks into his villain status like a champ and has excellent chemistry with Masinitheir duet of Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman” is surprising and electric, and seeing Masini rage during Taylor Swift’s “Trouble” is immensely gratifying. 

Grab your Santa hat, swipe on some Avon, and carve out some time to see Scissorhands during its limited encore engagement. The show runs every Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. until January 4th. Tickets range from $25 to $45 and are on sale now.

About The Author:

Taylor Gates earned a BFA in Creative Writing from the University of Evansville and works as a content specialist in Los Angeles. Taylor is currently a staff writer for the online entertainment website Starry Constellation Magazine, and her reviews and interviews have been featured on BuzzFeed and FANVERSATION.

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