Edward Scissorhands

A sure fire winner, a tear-jerker with comedic appeal, Mathew Bourne’s New Adventures’ Edward Scissorhands, is based on Tim Burton’s 1990 film but reimagined for dance. The theme of a boy with scissorhands and therefore an outsider who fails to gain acceptance is one which fits with our times. Premiered in 2005, revived in 2014, Gothic (not too scary and suitable for all ages from 8+); it’s just a pity that the choreography is not quite up to scratch.

An outsider who fails to gain acceptance (a theme which) fits with our times

A rather muddling prologue showing a gravestone engraved with Edward’s name leads one to suppose this is Edward Scissorhands’, but no. An eccentric inventor, Frankenstein-like, has created a ‘boy’ to replace his dead son and this is the first son’s grave.

However, things take off. Terrific thunder and lightning and a huge silver moon introduce a Gothic atmosphere.The Pink Panther-like steps of a gang of teenagers provide humour on their way to the inventor’s lone castle. Their trick or treat antics give the inventor a heart attack and he dies before he has provided his new Edward with hands instead of scissors.

Lez Brotherston’s designs are superb as ever. Not only the Gothic opening set, also swirling snow and a stunning Ice Angel. The weird angle of the Hope Springs set is particularly effective, an all-American 50s suburb of identical clapboard houses with picket fences where Edward is taken in by a kindly housewife, Mrs Peg Boggs (Sophia Hurdley). He also falls in love with her daughter, Kim (a cheery, pony-tailed Holly Saw) and the jealousy of her boyfriend Jim Upton, (a brutish Ben Brown) the Mayor’s son drives the plot. Stephen Murray as Edward has a suitably morose, white painted face like Pierrot but a range of expression is lacking. Dancing without being able to touch his partner is a challenge but the choreography is again rather limited.

Each of the dancers deftly demonstrate their character as they move about their day, most memorable being the two gays with a baby and the Evercreech family of religious fundamentalists. There are brilliant details like the fixed grin of the Mayor Franklyn Upton III (Glenn Graham) and the nymphomaniac Joyce Monroe (a stand-out performance by Nicole Kabera) with shocking auburn hair and tight orange leggings. Her attempt to seduce Edward is hilarious - a never seen before on stage erotic moment as she sits on a vibrating tumbledrier.

The problem starts with the Act I ensemble dance at a barbeque. A mash-up of rock and roll with other unimaginative moves that goes on far too long. Luckily both humour and drama are paramount in Act II. Edward becomes a celebrity as a barber creating spiky hairstyles like his own and even the poodle gets an extraordinary make-over. His topiary designs are a hit and we are treated to a dance of topiary creatures. The choreography of the Christmas Ball is a much more successful ensemble piece and could have gone on for much longer. The costumes are gloriously glamorous, especially a striped black and emerald striped one and Joyce’s elegant long black dress slit to reveal red tights.

There are two duets for Edward and Kim - a fantasy sequence with normal hands, and then a love duet where, despite the scissorhands, he is able to balance Kim on his shoulder. The drama ramps up to a bloody death but an unfortunately confusing end. What happens to Edward? Is he dead? Has he run off?

Reviews by Stephanie Green

Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Edward Scissorhands

★★★★
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★★★★
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★★★★
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★★★★
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★★★★

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The Blurb

Matthew Bourne’s magical dance production of Edward Scissorhands has carved a place in the hearts of audiences worldwide since its premiere in 2005.

Based on the classic Tim Burton movie and featuring the hauntingly beautiful music of Danny Elfman and Terry Davies, Bourne and his New Adventures Company return to this witty, bittersweet story of an incomplete boy left alone in a strange new world. 

In a castle high on a hill lives Edward; a boy created by an eccentric inventor. When his creator dies, he is left alone and unfinished, with only scissors for hands - until a kindly townswoman invites him to live with her suburban family. Can Edward find his place in the well-meaning community, which struggles to see past his curious appearance to the innocence and gentleness within?

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