Edward Scissorhands ★★★★ Sadler's Wells Theatre | Dec 5, 2023 - Jan 20, 2024

In 2005 Matthew Bourne took Tim Burton's offbeat movie and brought it to the stage in a manner that both respects the original and also brilliantly translates the piece into the language of dance. This story of the innocent Edward who is created by a Dr Frankenstein-like figure and who is left with scissors for hands is as moving as the original, but Bourne has added his own distinct touches. After at first embracing Edward and being beguiled by the use of his scissor hands to create topiary, hairstyles and ice sculptures, the candy floss suburbanites of Hope Springs gradually reveal their darker side. Edward's presence slowly becomes a catalyst to release their deeper bigoted instincts. The notion of the outsider who is never really fully accepted and who ultimately plumbs society's subtle depths of "otherness" may resonate with current political events, but it is all contained in Bourne's stylised recasting of the allegory. The clever mirroring of Edward's ostracising scissor hands with the socially acceptable pompom hands of his love interest Kim, vivaciously interpreted by Katrina Lyndon, says it all. As Edward, Liam Mower delivers a simply stunning personification of the guileless outsider. His every movement suggests the character's vulnerability and impressionability. His discovery of love and his bewilderment in the face of sexual predation are palpable. As the local seductress, Nicole Kabera is quite riveting and she does an excellent job of establishing character from the moment she comes on stage. Indeed, one of the major strengths of this production is the cast's miming ability. They deftly individuate themselves as they create the various types that inhabit this ultra-normal neighbourhood. The choreographic highlight, however, is the Christmas celebration when Bourne really pulls out all the stops. It is an outstanding display of virtuosity that marvellously sets the audience up for the dénouement. For the dance enthusiast or the devotee of the cult film, this Edward Scissorhands offers an extraordinary experience.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Johan Persson

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