Edward Scissorhands, Festival Theatre, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Liam Mower in Edward Scissorhands surrounded by topiary in muted light
Show details
New Adventures
Matthew Bourne (Devisor, Director, Choreographer), Terry Davies (New Music/Arrangements), Caroline Thomspon (Story/Co-adaptation), Lez Brotherston (Design), Howard Harrison (Lighting), Paul Groothuis (Sound), Duncan McLean (Projections), Etta Murfitt (Associate Artistic Director), Neil Westmoreland (Resident Director)
Liam Mower (Edward Scissorhands), Mami Tomotani (Pegg Boggs/Old Kim), Holly Saw (Kim Boggs), Jamie Duncan-Campbell (Kevin Boggs/Little Edward), Nicole Kabera (Joyce Monroe), Luke Murphy (George Monroe/Funeral/TV Reporter), Megan Ferguson (Miss Bunny Monroe/Christmas Caroler/Topiary 1), Aristide Lyons (Gerald Monroe/Topiary 2/Christmas Caroler), Stephanie Billers (Mrs Charity Upton/Funeral/Topiary 3), Glenn Graham (Mayor Franklyn Upton III/Inventor), Jade Copas (Darlene Upton/Topiary 4/Xmas Bad), Ben Brown (Jim Upton), Carrie Willis (Tiffany Covitt/TV Reporter), Andrew Ashton (Brad Covitt/Topiary 5), Anna-Maria de Freitas (Candy Covitt/Cheerleader/Topiary 6/Caroler), Perreira De Jesus Franque (Chase Covitt/Topiary 7/Caroler), Christina Rebecca Gibbs (Esmerelda Evereech/Funeral), Reese Causton (Rev Judas Evereech), Molly Shaw-Downie (Marilyn-Ann Evereech/Topiary 8/Xmas Bad), Nicolas Shikkis (Gabriel Evereech/Topiary 9/Xmas Bad), Barnaby Quarendon (Ryan Gaibright/Funeral/Photographer), James Lovell (Todd Gaibright/Funeral/Topiary 10/Haircut reveal), Savannah Ffrench (Sanda Gaibright/Cheerleader/Topiary 11/Caroler), Xholindi Muci (Sheldon Gaibright/Topiary 12/Xmas Bad)
Running time

In the shadow of the Eurovision weekend just past and the increasingly vitriolic criticism of the event, due to the “freaks on display” this year, New Adventures adaptation of this classic tale of difference and acceptance is just as apt, if not more so, than when it initially premiered in 2005 and was revived in 2014.

Matthew Bourne’s efficiency for storytelling through movement is showcased perfectly here and cleverly adapted by Caroline Thompson from her original screenplay for the 1990 Tim Burton film. Rather than being tied down by its celluloid counterpart, the attention focuses on capturing the spirit of the story, allowing Bourne’s signature style of contemporary ballet to convey the gothic horror come suburban drama, without the need for any words. 

Evoking an array of emotions in a series of twenty scenes across two acts, ranging from intimate solos to bustling full company numbers, we watch as Edward is helped by Good Samaritan Peg Boggs who sees beyond his appendages and welcomes him into her home.  

There is nothing subtle about Lez Brotherston’s colourful designs, successfully showcasing stereotypes as a vista of cutout, perfectly arranged houses jauntily present characters from the town of Hope Springs - from the swaggering preppy high school kids to the stiff religious zealots and everyone in between. There is so much happening onstage that no matter where your eye focuses, there’s a fully realised narrative being visually presented, echoing the confusion for Edward in this new world as he tries to learn the choreography of suburbia and goes from something to be feared, to curiosity and sensation, then eventual scapegoat.

Terry Davies’s music, based on themes from Danny Elfman’s film score, adds pathos to each scene and truly shines in the two duets between Edward and Kim as they get to express emotion that perfectly waltzes to the edge of feeling. A fantasy sequence, complete with dancing topiary, enchants while their later partnership uses clever choreography to have Kim embraced by Edward’s blades without harm, including a beautiful lift onto his shoulders without tripping into sentimentality.

The enjoyment here is not in the retelling but in the showing, and it’s only through viewing the creations of Bourne that you’ll know if they speak to you. This universal tale of first impressions, judgement and looking beyond different to see kindness and innocence, should speak volumes to everyone in our current scaremongering and divided world, especially when showcased by Bourne’s inventive direction and choreography, and delivered by a stellar cast.