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Edward Scissorhands – The Lowry, Salford

Reviewer: Matthew Forrest

Devisor, Director and Choreographer: Sir Matthew Bourne

Composers: Terry Davies and Danny Elfman

Back in the Summer of 1999 director Tim Burton unleashed his latest creation Edward Scissorhands into UK cinemas. It was a commercial and critical success. Fast forward to 2005 when director and choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne decided to sprinkle a touch of his own magic dust onto the Scissorhands story, and in the process delivered a show that is fun, heartbreaking and quite simply beautiful.

Some 18 years after its debut, the production arrives at the Lowry before embarking on a full winter/spring UK tour. The plot focuses on an animatronic boy, created by a bereaved father. The opening sequence sees a young boy struck by lightning whilst playing with a pair of scissors. The boy’s father, racked with grief, attempts to build another son, he almost finishes the task but tragically dies when some teenagers break into his laboratory one Hallowe’en and scare him to death, thus leaving Edward unfinished.

Edward leaves his castle and travels to the nearest town of Hope Springs, where kindly housewife Peg Boggs takes him in. At first the town’s folk, especially Peg’s daughter Kim, are scared by their new resident. However, Edward’s topiary and hairdressing skills soon win them over. Will Edward manage to settle into his new suburban surroundings and finally find acceptance and his happy ending?

From start to finish, there is so much to admire about this production: it really is an absolute treat! Bourne’s decision to change the setting from the film’s original 1980s setting to the 1950s is a masterstroke, as you get a 50s B movie quality to proceedings. It’s a blend of big, bold colours and costumes from the suburban setting, which contrast perfectly with the more gothic elements of the story.

In addition, Bourne has created a world where every character matters, they all have their own little story waiting to be told, from a bored, adulterous housewife to a teenage goth reluctantly embracing romantic intentions. If it weren’t that Edward’s story is the focal point, there could be a dozen others that would be no less interesting.

The choreography is exceptional throughout, from each huge ensemble set-piece like the Suburban Ballet, and the Annual Christmas Ball, to the more intimate, Creating a Boy and Ice Dance sequences, each one exquisite with its storytelling. Liam Mower as Edward is a captivating stage presence, giving a performance mixed with sorrow and charming naivety. The entire cast is exceptional; it’s a credit to them and the writing that you’ll leave remembering every single one of them.

Bourne’s long-time collaborative partner, Composer Terry Davies, has done a great job of weaving elements of Danny Elfman’s original film score into his score: quirky, engaging and full of life. It sounds fantastic, my only gripe being I wish there were a full orchestra to play it.

This is top-drawer storytelling: tender, funny and heartbreaking, told by fantastic performers at the top of their game. It looks stunning and sounds fantastic; a truly magical live experience.

Runs until 2nd December 2023 and on tour

The Reviews Hub Score

Enchantingly beautiful!

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The Reviews Hub - North West

The North West team is under the editorship of John McRoberts. 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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