Edward Scissorhands – Milton Keynes Theatre

Reviewer: Katy Roberts

Director and Choreographer: Sir Matthew Bourne
Music: Terry Davies and Danny Elfman

Sir Matthew Bourne is a master storyteller, famous for his mesmerising dance adaptations of well-known works – and his take on Tim Burton’s 1999 film, Edward Scissorhands, is no different. A critical success when it premiered in London in 2005, it enjoyed sell-out performances around the globe, and a revival in 2014/15 as part of a UK tour. What a joy it is, then, to see it return to Milton Keynes Theatre for the first time in nine years, updated with fresh ideas that take absolutely nothing away from the original story, and only add to its whimsical, magical charm.

Edward, a young boy, is tragically killed when struck by lightning as he plays with a pair of scissors. His bereaved father (Luke Murphy), overcome with grief, attempts to use his skills as an inventor to build a new son, but Edward (Stephen Murray) is left unfinished – with scissors for hands – when his father suffers a heart attack after being spooked by a group of teenagers who break into his laboratory. Entirely alone, Edward ventures to the nearby town of Hope Springs, where he is taken in by kindly housewife Peg Boggs (a wonderful Sophia Hurdley).

Slowly, we watch Edward open his heart to the world around him, and win over not only the townsfolk but also Peg’s daughter Kim (Katrina Lyndon), much to the fury of her boyfriend, Jim (Benjamin Barlow Bazeley). This is an adaptation of a Tim Burton work, after all, and rarely do things end happily ever after. The cruel and jealous side of human nature creeps back in at the edges of the fragile suburban idyll that Edward has found for himself, with heartbreaking consequences.

Visually, Edward Scissorhands is absolutely stunning. From the gloomy gothic trappings of Edward’s castle home (complete with shredded sofa – a lovely detail) to the pastel paradise of Hope Springs, and enchanting twilight ice sculptures and snow flurries – Lez Brotherston’s set design is as much a character in this production as Edward himself.

Speaking of Edward, Stephen Murray is absolutely exquisite in the role. From the very first moments we meet Edward, we know exactly who he is – as Bourne notes in the show’s programme – “an incomplete boy in a strange world” – and we, the audience, fall in love with him immediately. Murray’s physicality is so well balanced – the careful way he holds his ‘hands’, the stilted way he moves his feet, his wide, childlike expression, filled with fear, confusion, frustration and yearning, often all in the space of one moment.

As Kim, Katrina Lyndon beautifully captures her strong-willed spirit – her love for her family, the kindness and acceptance she shows Edward as she begins to fall in love with him, and the chemistry between the two of them is utterly believable and so incredibly moving.

Composer Terry Davies’ beautiful arrangements of Danny Elfman’s original film score really shine in the show’s most bittersweet moments (A Portrait of Kim, Farewell Duet, Epilogue), but so do his own compositions, seamlessly blended to serve the show’s most quirky, whimsical moments (The Surburban Ballet, The Boggs’ Barbecue, Edwardo the Barber), and not one note feels out of place.

Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands is very much an ensemble piece – and what an ensemble it is! One of the real joys of a Matthew Bourne production is you can be sure that every single dancer on that stage has something interesting to say. Whether it’s a bored, adulterous housewife (Nicole Kabera), her nebbish, submissive husband (played to perfection by James Lovell), or Hope Springs’ newest parents, Ryan and Todd Gailbright (Edwin Ray and Ben Brown, respectively) – every single character on that stage is so well drawn and absolutely fascinating to watch. You’ll leave the theatre remembering every single one of them.

There really is so much to love about Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands. From the fantastic central and ensemble performances to the enchanting musical score and gorgeous set designs, it truly is one of the most moving and beautifully staged productions in the New Adventures repertoire. But at its heart – it’s simply the beautiful, bittersweet tale of a boy who just wants to be loved.

Runs until 3 February 2024 and on tour

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The Central team is under the editorship of Selwyn Knight. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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One Comment

  1. Absolutely love it, great performance, love every second of it, it even made me laugh, enjoy the dance, and also I cried on how beautiful it was to, so emotional. Def I give 10/10, they did an amazing job, I would come back and watch it again

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