Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands is a good introduction to his work

A touring production of Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands recently played four dates at Bradford’s Alhambra theatre. Adapted from Tim Burton’s eponymous film, Matthew Bourne’s production resurrects the cult favourite as a mesmerising all-dancing show.  This version tells the story of a young boy who is electrocuted whilst holding some scissors. Although his father tries to fix him, the old man dies before completing his work, leaving Edward with scissors for hands. Orphaned Edward is soon discovered by a suburban mother who takes him in as her own. The heart-warming tale that follows shows Edward’s assimilation into society as he falls in love with the family’s daughter, Kim.

Edward Scissorhands, Matthew Bourne, Sadler's WellsThis adaptation is mostly true to the story’s original form and the artistic direction of an all-dance performance makes for interesting viewing. Certain elements of Danny Elfman’s score remain, leaving spectators with goosebumps each time those mystical choral chants are heard. The overall score of the piece effectively translates the story for the stage, making it accessible for anyone unfamiliar with the original film. The staging of Edward’s origins contrasts with the backdrop of American 1950’s suburbia, enhancing the gothic elements of the production. However, the theatrical illusion is sometimes undermined due to some small houses on stage which are smaller than the dancers, meaning the performers are visible as they enter and exit upstage. While the set is visually interesting, it does sometimes leave spectators detached from the main action on stage.

Certain elements of Danny Elfman’s score remain, leaving spectators with goosebumps each time those mystical choral chants are heard

Matthew Bourne’s choreography demonstrates each individual’s need to be part of a group within society. Accompanied by blues and jazz instrumentals, each family has a unique motif which adds to the depth of the ensemble. Often the audience has the chance to choose between several dances occurring onstage at once. A most impressive sequence occurs at the end of act one in the involving the ensemble dressed as greenery accompanying Edward and Kim as they dance through Edward’s dream.

Matthew Bourne’s reputation as a choreographer creates high expectations for each of his productions and whilst Edward Scissorhands may not be his most memorable production for critics, it certainly makes for pleasant viewing for anyone new to dance or any fan of the original film.

Mark McDougall

Images: Birmingham Hippodrome

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