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Company of EDWARD SCISSORHANDS. Devised, Directed and Choreographed by Matthew Bourne. Pho

Edward Scissorhands in very good company

Liam Mower (Edward) in EDWARD SCISSORHANDS Devised, Directed and Choreographed by Matthew

It’s a bit black and bit beautiful but dancer Liam Mower who as a boy played Billy Elliot was simply brilliant as Edward Scissorhands.

How he managed to jump and twirl energetically and elegantly with those huge shiny ‘steel’ arm extensions which glimmered and made the sounds of heavy metal I don’t know.

There was a lot of necessary arm flailing in this Matthew Bourne production which opened at the Bristol Hippodrome this week to a rapturous reception by an enthusiastic audience.

The show is mesmeric, magical and melancholic although the music is a bit melodic in parts and sometimes sounds like a marching band.

This is more 1950s contemporary dance than ballet with its large ensemble and the Christmas party revelry is reminiscent of the big opening numbers of Strictly Come Dancing.

My theatre companion summed up the experience: "Stunning choreography, breathtaking scenery and special effects, performance art its very best. Beautifully evoking fifties white picket fence US suburbia with echoes of Mad Men and Stepford Wives."

One of the most memorial moments of Edward Scissorhands in the1990 American gothic romantic fantasy film starring a then delicious Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton was its beauty and candy-coloured suburban bungalows.

It tells the story of an unfinished artificial humanoid who has scissor blades instead of hands that is taken in by a kindly family and falls in love with their teenage daughter.

So, in the razor sharp 'hands' of master choreographer Matthew Bourne how is this all going to pan out.

The story starts one snowy evening and the show crosses Frankenstein with Happy Days using every stereotypical character from same sex to God-fearing families mixed with punks, fitness freaks and a seductive ‘loose woman’ type.

The set is fantastic, the lighting atmospheric and the apart from the too-short shorts the costumes are divine.

The topiary and hairstyles are pretty impressive too, especially the blue poodle trim but the pièce de résistance is the Christmas ice model in the shape of Edward’s love interest danced lovingly by Australian ballerina Ashley Shaw.

Matthew Bourne said: “Never has the story of Edward Scissorhands been more timely.

“In an era when uniqueness and identity is both celebrated and reviled, its story of how we treat anyone who appears to be different in our communities is as poignant and relevant as when my dear friend Caroline Thompson wrote the screenplay for Tim Burton’s legendary movie fable some 33 years ago.

“Once again, I am truly indebted to Caroline, Tim Burton and Danny Elfman for trusting us with their beloved tale.

“In fact, New Adventures is the only company in the world that performs Edward Scissorhands as a theatrical spectacle.

“One of the joys of our show is the generational casting.

“Our town of Hope Springs USA is made up of six families, a mother, a father, a son and a daughter (though this year we have also added a same-sex parent family for the first time).

“This gives us a wonderful opportunity to support younger dancers, many of whom have been nurtured in our talent development programmes, but also to work, once again, with many former New Adventures stars, in the roles of the mums and dads!

“New Adventures truly is a family and never more so than in this production.”

Matthew Bourne’s magical dance production of Edward Scissorhands has carved a place in the hearts of audiences world-wide since its premiere in 2005. 

Following sell out performances in America, Australia, Korea, Japan and Europe, it had its first major revival in 2014 and now returns to UK theatres for the first time in nine years.

Based on the classic Tim Burton movie and featuring the hauntingly beautiful music of Danny Elfman and Terry Davies, Bourne and his company, New Adventures return to this witty, bittersweet story of an incomplete boy left alone in a strange new world.

In a castle high on a hill lives Edward; a boy created by an eccentric inventor.When his creator dies, he is left alone and unfinished with only scissors for hands until a kindly townswoman invites him to live with her suburban family.

Liam Mower (Edward) and Stephanie Billers in EDWARD SCISSORHANDS. Devised, Directed and Ch
Katrina Lyndon (Kim Boggs) in EDWARD SCISSORHANDS. Devised, Directed and Choreographed by
James Lovell and Edwin Ray of EDWARD SCISSORHANDS Devised, Directed and Choreographed by M
Christina Rebecca Gibbs in EDWARD SCISSORHANDS Devised, Directed and Choreographed by Matt
Ashley Shaw (Kim Boggs) in EDWARD SCISSORHANDS. Devised, Directed and Choreographed by Mat

Can Edward find his place in the well-meaning community which struggles to see past his curious appearance to the innocence and gentleness within?

The set and costumes designed by Lez Brotherston, lighting designed by Howard Harrison and sound designed by Paul Groothuis.

The show runs until Saturday evening, March 9, with matinee performances on Thursday and Saturday.

For tickets from £13 plus booking fee go to

Review: Carol Deacon

Photos: Johan Persson 

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