REVIEW: Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands | Liverpool Empire | 27.01.15

Matthew Bourne's Edward ScissorhandsBritish director Matthew Bourne has become one of the UK’s most celebrated dance choreographers, gaining popularity through his ability to take classic ballets such as Swan Lake and The Nutcracker and put fresh, interesting spins on them. Back in 2005 though, Bourne brought something slightly different to the stage – not a new production of an already established stage show, but a re-imagining of the film Edward Scissorhands. Now touring the UK and playing at the Liverpool Empire from the 27th until the 31st January 2015, it is a joy to find that Bourne’s revival of the show is just as magical as Tim Burton’s original film. Mari Jones reviews

The first most striking thing about Bourne’s production is the design. Impressive gothic sets (where we first meet Edward) make way for the painterly white picket fenced houses of the local twee town, perfectly setting the scene. The second noticeable thing is Bourne’s immaculate choreography which comes to life as soon as we are introduced to this picture-perfect town. One of the most interesting dances of the show, each family emerges from their houses all dancing in their own unique style. In fact there is sometimes so much happening on stage at once that it’s hard to take it all in. From this colourful introduction, to a garden party, to a gorgeous, balletic topiary dance, Bourne brings the story to life with his vivid, unique choreography.

Now set in the 50s (instead of the 80s setting of the film), Bourne’s version of the story is only loosely based around the plot of the film. Edward (played on tour by both Dominic North and Liam Mower), a boy who is created by an eccentric inventor, is left incomplete and without real hands when the inventor suddenly dies. Lost and alone, Edward is thankfully taken in by a family in the local suburban town, whose townspeople, at first fearful of him, slowly begin to accept him and see his scissorhands almost as a novelty. While these moments will be familiar to anyone who knows the film, re-imagining it as a dance production allows Bourne to then step out and create a more in-depth story, exploring the character of Edward more, as well as Kim (Ashley Shaw – superb), the daughter of the family who take him in. Not only is this more satisfying to watch than if Bourne had simply recreated the film scene by scene, it also means that those who aren’t familiar with the film won’t be left in the dark.

Although it doesn’t follow the story faithfully though, fans of the film will be pleased to know that Bourne has still managed to perfectly capture the spirit of the original Tim Burton film – the romance, the darkness, the beauty, the tragedy, as well as Burton’s trademark dark humour (indeed, Bourne’s show is laugh-out-loud funny at times). Brought to life by Danny Elfman’s iconic film score, Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands is a mesmerising show to watch. Technically marvellous, faultlessly choreographed and performed to perfection by all the cast (especially Dominic North who performed on opening night as Edward, and who is an absolute triumph in the role), it is a sensational production and one that makes for a truly enchanting evening. And if you’re not fighting back tears at the end, then your heart must be made of the very ice that Edward uses to carve into sculptures.

Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands runs at the Liverpool Empire until Sat 31st January. TICKETS

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