Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands is one of my favourite films, I have seen it many times and love the aesthetics, the performances and the new spin on the classic Frankenstein tale, and the love story at the core gives the film its heart.
Matthew Bourne’s production of this beloved goth classic highlights that you can have a play without words, yet convey so much meaning through the power of dance.
If you have never seen one of his beautiful contemporary ballets, all you need to know is that they appeal to dance aficionados and newcomers alike, as what he manages to do is make you fall in love with the delicacy of movement with humour, respect for the art form and often move you to tears.
The company New Adventures features a huge cast ready to revisit this dark tale set in Hope Springs.
Lez Brotherston’s Epic Set Design
When we first meet Edward, Lez Brotherston’s epic set design is monochrome, as his life is unfinished and yet to feature much in the way of colour.
He has been created by an inventor, who regards him as his son. But sadly he dies before he gets the chance to finish making him, leaving him with scissors for hands, and feeling incomplete.
As this shy and frightened boy enters a new world, the palate changes to garish and loud colours that speak of Coca-Cola and consumerism.
He looks out of place, but his Scissor hands contain both threat and thrills, as he can cut hair and turn the local’s gardens into the envy of those nosy neighbours.
And there is always a desperate housewife, waiting in the wings to see what Edward can do for her, to ease her boredom and take her away from the white picket fence that is her life.
Everything here is surface level, and this boy with scissors for hands takes the community beyond that and then some.
Matthew Bourne’s Choreography
Matthew Bourne’s choreography is simply stunning as it has a lightness of touch, and everything in Edward’s words is as delicate as Tennessee Williams’ Glass Menagerie of Animals.
Liam Mower glides across the stage with real grace and rhythm and he encapsulates the feeling that his protagonist could break any minute.
Kerry Biggin’s Peg Boss is selling Avon door to door in the film and she is bored, then Edward arrives.
Kerry conveys this excitement through her hand movement, as she almost writes “I love this” in the air, as she races across the stage, like an excited puppy, waiting to impress her new owner.
The ensemble are superb and there are scenes that resemble Michael Jackson’s Thriller, as the local teens hunt down this mysterious, yet enigmatic stranger.
Fearing things that are different
The themes of fearing someone different and creating a ‘monster’ in your mind remain relevant and Matthew Bourne spotlights them, so you cannot help but compare them with things that you see in the news on a daily basis.
But the key thing here is that you feel sympathy and empathy for the characters, and that is because they are fully formed and developed, you are never short-changed.
Lez Brotherston’s set design and costumes are things of real beauty, from the darkness of Edward’s ‘birthplace’ through to the American Beauty style suburbia, complete with houses that all look the same; it resembles Legoland with bubblegum and cherry coke.
It beautifully foreshadows what is to come, as the local people love the novelty value of this newcomer, but like their washing machines and other products they keep buying to keep up with the Joneses, they are willing to bin him and replace him with something better.
Michael Jackson-esque Goth
Liam Mower and Katrina Lyndon make a beautiful couple; a Michael Jackson-esque goth and a cheerleader have a different style of dance when solo.
And when they are together, the ice thaws and they become one and you feel the connection and their chemistry is quite something.
Danny Elfman’s instantly recognisable music remains, as do many of the scenes from Burton’s career-best film.
But there are some great additions including a gay couple who live on the street and some more Christmas scenes.
New Adventures’ Edward Scissorhands recalls the heyday of silent movies, in life before mobile phones, and it conveys love, warmth, laughter and elegance on a grand scale and never fails to move you or make you smile.
And if we get snow soon, look out over the hills because it is down to Edward and his ice-sculpting skills. And that’s the real joy of this dance piece, it makes you believe in fairy tales again and the art of storytelling. And that’s magic.
Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands is at the Lowry until 2nd December and you can book tickets here