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Edward Scissorhands

Matthew Bourne

New Adventures

The Lowry, Salford

November 28-December 2, 2023: 2 hrs


The ball scene from Edward Scissorhands. cr Johan Persson
Christmas cheer: the ball scene from Edward Scissorhands. All pics: Johan Persson

Banner showing a three and a half star rating

Who could resist Matthew Bourne’s narrative dance adaptation of Edward Scissorhands as a pre-Christmas show?

It’s one of his vintage creations, turning the Tim Burton film into a feelgood slice of nostalgia – very much aided by Lez Brotherston’s vivid, almost cartoon-like set and costume designs.

The story’s best summed up, perhaps, as a gothic-fantasy-romance: escapism in every way. And it’s got its own seasonal theme, not only when the small-town community of Hope Springs holds its Christmas ball, but also in the leitmotiv of snowflakes fluttering on starry nights, which we’re led to believe are all the work of Edward, ice sculptor extraordinaire.

He's a kind of friendly Frankenstein monster, created by a mad inventor and brought to life before being finished, so he has scissors as hands – and all the problems that brings. The archetypal odd man out, he’s made almost unbelievably welcome at first in the US of the 1950s, and falls for a pretty girl only for the townfolk (except her) to turn against him when something goes wrong. That’s an interesting commentary on how America sees itself, but for our show it’s a just a symbol of finding yourself “different”.

Those who know the film will no doubt see all manner of allusions, but even if you don’t, the narrative is clear enough – albeit with several long sequences of ensemble dancing that don’t carry it forward very much.

Sir Matthew has updated the show for this revival by changing one of the Hope Springs families into a same-sex couple with two children – which might seem incongruous for the 1950s, but let’s make things as PC and box-ticked as we can...

There are all Bourne's signature touches of humour and cheerful caricature, and the set pieces are enormous fun – particularly the dancing topiary dream sequence, when Edward, for once, loses his scissor hands.

At the outset of a long run (with Salford followed by a London season and then a tour), the casting is being shuffled, as it should be to ensure illness and injuries can be covered. There was just a hint, on the second night (the Press show), of people still finding their feet in a few spots, but the New Adventures company members are all very talented and capable performers and have within them both long-time Bourne stalwarts and gifted newcomers.

As a show that goes back 18 years, you wouldn’t expect to find any boundaries broken in this latest revival; and if you’ve seen other Matthew Bourne creations, there may be a sense of familiarity in the steps and style. But the entertainment value is as high as ever.


More info and tickets here



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