Edward Scissorhands

"A cut above the rest!"

Edward Scissorhands (first performed as a stage show in 2005) is a cunning interpretation of the classic Frankenstein story which examines what it means to be an outsider who longs to be an insider. For those unfamiliar with the 1990 cult classic, the plot follows Edward (a Frankenstein-esque creation with scissors for hands…) who is discovered wandering the streets of suburbia. Here he must learn to conform, hone his unexpected talents and prove to the folks around him that he belongs. But just how well can you be expected to succeed when everything you dare to touch rips, shreds and turns to tatters?

Devised, directed and choreographed by Sir Matthew Bourne, this version of the beloved story is another dose of what we’ve come to expect from the man whose name is synonymous with the contemporary reimagining of classics (from ‘Nutcracker!’ to ‘Swan Lake’) through the art of dance. Bourne’s staged retelling of Edward Scissorhands is a unique entity that stands alone next to its classic source material. Here, the story is transported back to the 1950s and is once again delivered with his trademark wit, through music and dance. The production thrives at its most whimsical and there are plenty of dance flourishes throughout- though the choreography truly hits its stride during a frenetic Christmas Ball scene in the second act.

The orchestrations are a gorgeous hybrid of Danny Elfman’s classic score and Terry Davies’ new music and arrangements. Elfman’s originals laid the perfect foundation for Davies to musically accessorise the staged narrative’s individual journey. Whilst the compositions charmed and helped to inform the audiences emotional responses, it’s worth noting that the pre-recorded soundtrack sometimes lacked a little oomph which, ultimately, detracted from some of the performance’s bolder moments. 

Lez Brotherston’s set design was so brilliantly kitsch and the audience was visually shifted to 1950s suburbia in the blink of an eye with impressive set pieces. This contrasted wonderfully with the tonally muted scenes of Edward’s gothic habitat- a glorious nod to Tim Burton’s beloved original. Costume design (also by Brotherston) married beautifully with the perfectly pastel set and enhanced the talented cast’s embodiment of their already gloriously clichéd characters. Howard Harrison’s atmospheric lighting design worked in solid partnership with Duncan Mclean’s video and projection design- adding a real sense of dimension to the visuals already on display (and were especially stunning in act two.)

At the heart of the show was Liam Mower’s star turn as Edward who perfectly captured the character’s subliminal longing for love and acceptance whilst dealing with the frustration of being imprisoned in a body which makes the former so challenging. Support from the company was incredibly strong and they were each provided, rightfully, with their moment in the spotlight. 

It’s unfortunate that some pivotal narrative moments felt rushed, but this revival’s important themes stand solid against the giddiness portrayed on the surface. In a show which tackles social issues still so relevant to today’s audiences, it’s poignant to leave the theatre with the much-needed resolution of tolerance, acceptance and love as the resounding messages of the night. 

A treat for stans of the original motion picture and newcomers alike, Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands is a cut above the rest. 

This show was reviewed on the 29th November 2023 at The Lowry, Salford where it runs until the 2nd December 2023.  Tickets available here: Edward Scissorhands - Matthew Bourne's New Adventures | What's On | The Lowry

Full tour details can be found here: Edward Scissorhands | New Adventures (new-adventures.net)

Review written by Lee Gregory

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