Tuesday, May 28

Edward Scissorhands – Hull New Theatre

The 1927 song “I Danced With A Man, Who Danced With A Girl, Who Danced With The Prince of Wales”, refers to the oft-desired human condition of forging connections with famous people – however remote those connections may be.

Well, I possibly suffer from the same condition and can claim family folklore has revealed that my nephew’s daughter’s mum is Liam Mower’s cousin. Impressive eh?

Mower, for those not in the know, has the lead role of Edward Scissorhands in Matthew Bourne’s magical dance production of the same name, which began a run at the Hull New Theatre on Tuesday night.

As I took my seat, I wondered if the Hull-born dancer’s performance would cut it (pun intended) with his home crowd.

I needn’t have worried, he was stupendous. And that goes for everyone on stage that night.

The show opened with an old lady, and we come to realise it is her story being played out.

The dramatic opening of thunder, lightning, rain and snow was an eye-opener. Those first few minutes alone were worth the price of the ticket, and it’s here we are introduced to the young Edward Scissorhands (a dual role for Xavier Andriambolanoro Sotiya).

Photo: Johan Persson

Edward’s “rebirth” in an inventor’s lab was just as amazing, and I’m not spoiling things here by revealing his inventor pops his clogs before having the chance to fit his creation with life-like hands – ordinary hands, no story.

We witness the incomplete misfit eventually fitting in when the kindly Peg Boggs (Sophia Hurdley) embraces him into the bosom of her family – husband Bill (Dominic North), son Kevin (the above-mentioned Sotiya) and daughter Kim (Jade Copas). We later come to realise that the old lady who opened the show, is Kim in her dotage.

Despite having deadly digits, Edward is a gentle, innocent and naive soul who wants nothing more than to fit in with everyone in the suburban surroundings he finds himself in.

These surroundings are brought to life by a truly talented cast who danced, amused, play-fought, flirted, prayed, plotted and goodness knows what else in a production which, to my mind, had elements of The Stepford Wives, Grease and The Truman Show all rolled into one.

There was never a dull moment, with comedic twists at every turn – apart from Edward himself, the funniest pair were red-haired seductress Joyce Monroe (Nicole Kabera) and her husband George (Luke Murphy) whose shenanigans in short shorts will, unfortunately, be forever etched into my brain. Mind you, his lawnmower scenes were a scream – at the back of stage while his wanton wife was seducing Edward in the spotlight.

The stage setting was of the utmost quality as were the costumes. Lez Brotherston is the genius responsible for both and, apart from that of Edward, the best costumes award must go to those worn by the dancing topiary. And I mean the best ever.

The townsfolk loved Edward when he can reshape their hair, and in one case, a pet poodle’s locks. His topiary is a thing of wonder, too.

His scissor hands also come into their own at barbecues with his tines sporting sausages etc. But it is a jealous love rival that brings him, and us, heartache.

Throughout, wonderful recorded music and dramatic lighting added to the atmosphere, an atmosphere filled with energy, fun and bucketloads of laughs – with plenty of “ah and aw” moments.

Space prevents me from name checking everyone involved, so I will just concentrate on Hull’s own Mower, who, without words had every emotion etched on his face throughout.

He not only danced but acted too. What a star!

And, as the snow fell on us in the stalls, I couldn’t care less if my hair frizzed or my hands ached from applauding too much during the standing ovation.

My nephew’s daughter’s mum’s cousin had done Hull proud. I loved every second.

Running until Saturday, April 27th, 2024; 7.30pm nightly with 2.30pm matinees on Thursday, 25th and Saturday, 27th. Tickets cost from £19. Call (01482) 300306 or visit www.hulltheatres.co.uk

Reviewer: Jackie Foottit

Reviewed: 23rd April 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.