Tuesday, April 23

Edward Scissorhands – Empire Theatre

A magical production that is simply stunning!

There is nothing like seeing a live ballet and when Matthew Bourne is the choreographer you know it will not disappoint. He is a magician of imagination and originality, bringing stories to life for contemporary audiences.

Tim Burton’s gothic fantasy Edward Scissorhands, was a strange, yet hauntingly beautiful fairytale, which came to the cinema in the 1990s. Bourne developed this bittersweet story, and it was first performed in 2005 with subsequent tours. Despite seeing many of his other magnificent ballets, this was my first time seeing Scissorhands – and it was simply stunning!

Bourne works his magic once again, to give us an enchanting visual feast for the eyes, as well as really bringing out the comedy moments, which the packed house lapped up. This beautifully stylized production features Danny Elfman’s original soundtrack which floats, dreamlike, through the scenes, with additional music and arrangements by Terry Davies, giving us an upbeat, jazzy juxtaposition. Lez Brotherston’s set design is exquisite. He cleverly creates the castle, the cemetery and the wonderful houses of Spring Falls in scene changes that just keep giving. The costumes, a cascade of colour and styles. The lighting, sound and projections perfectly enhance this mesmerizing production.

The story is quite simple but has echoes of Frankenstein and Pinocchio. Edward has been created by an eccentric inventor who dies before he can finish the artificial boy, who’s left with only scissors for hands. He is taken in by the kindly Mrs. Boggs who introduces him to suburban life. Will this innocent being be accepted by the community? Over time he becomes a kind of celebrity in the little town. Edward falls in love with the teenage daughter Kim, but her boyfriend is the instigator of the ridicule Edward receives from others. Although Kim finally realizes she loves Edward, their love is unfulfilled.  

Photo: Johan Persson

Although Scissorhands (Liam Mower) is the centre of the piece, the ensemble are really the driving force in the narrative. Mower captures the icon character and is charming and sympathetic in the role, as he energetically engrosses himself in the wonderful characters of the community, snipping at trees, dogs, ladies’ hair and whatever he can cut with his scissor hands.

The townsfolk are really well developed as they go about their daily lives. Six families all with two parents and two children. The Boggs, the Monroes, the Uptons, the Covitts, the Gaibrights and The Evereeches. Funeral directors to cheerleaders, mischievous teenagers and upright citizens are all part of this community.  From driving cars, keeping fit or doing their washing, Bourne creates the comic detailing which brings them alive. From Halloween to summer barbeque and pool party, through to winter and the Christmas ball. These ensemble scenes are superbly entertaining.

Katrina Lyndon as Kim is a delight to watch as she dances romantically with Edward in the topiary garden. Their genuine chemistry giving us hope their love will endure, but it is Ashley Shaw as Joyce Monrow, who really stands out as the sexy neighbour intent on pursuing the innocent Edward. Joyce’s husband, the boring, awkward yet extremely funny George (James Lovell) interrupts her pursuit in a sultry scene between her and Edward. Skillfully choreographed, her intention and his reluctance was a joy to watch.

With a cast of twenty-five, the stage is always bubbling with energy and colour and everyone of the company give a first class performance – no background crowd here, they are a company of individuals who all shine in their own right.

At the centre of this is a simple message about being different and being accepted; about innocence and love triumphing over bigotry and ignorance. Edward’s charm captures our hearts and Matthew Bourne proves once again – you don’t need words to tell a story. Through the medium of dance we are drawn into this fantastical world and for two hours we are immersed in its wonder.

Edward Scissorhands runs until the 24th February. https://www.atgtickets.com/venues/liverpool-empire/

Reviewer: Bev Clark

Reviewed: 20th February 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.