DanceEast AngliaReview

Edward Scissorhands – Theatre Royal, Norwich

Reviewer: Lu Greer

Devisor, Director and Choreographer: Matthew Bourne
Music and Arrangements: Danny Elfman and Terry Davies
Writer: Tim Burton and Caroline Thompson
Adaptor: Caroline Thompson

Matthew Bourne is renowned for his creative twists on classic tales, creating new perspectives on traditional stories. At first glance, these classic stories sitting alongside Tim Burton’s gothic Edward Scissorhands seems rather jarring, until of course one realises that the 1999 movie was perhaps always meant to be a ballet. The vibrant colours, eccentric costumes, and sense of unreality all fit seamlessly into the world of ballet.

The story, adapted by original screenplay co-writer Caroline Thompson, tells the story of Edward who is a boy built by a grieving inventor after he loses his own son. When the inventor in turn dies and leaves Edward alone in an unfamiliar world, he ventures into Hope Springs where he is welcomed by Peg Boggs who introduces him to a world of Americana.

Every dancer on stage is entirely captivating in this performance; no matter where on the stage you look a dancer is a fully realised character creating a key part of the world. Liam Mower’s Edward balances the stilted manner of an incomplete boy with the poise and skill of an exceptional dancer to bring life to the titular role in a way which the audience fall in love with from his first few tentative steps.

Opposite him, Ashley Shaw’s Kim Boggs is the perfect match. Moving from the quintessential cheerleader to becoming something entirely more, as the performance progresses she grows alongside Edward. In the twilight of Edward’s ice sculptures, she is exceptional; her movements encompass a freedom and a joy which is simply spellbinding to watch.

It is the ability to tell a story which makes his show. Edward’s and Kim’s stories develop through each movement and add layer to the characters, but along with them every other character has their own story and their own lives which create scenes rich in storytelling, whimsy, and feeling.

As would be expected from anything inspired by a Tim Burton film, the visuals entirely make this performance. Beginning with the gothic castle, moving to the pastels of Hope Springs, through to the soft twilight of ice sculptures, and returning finally to the gothic style of the imposing cemetery gates, the combination of Lez Brotherston’s sets and costumes, and Howard Harrison’s lighting create entirely captivating and wonderful scenes.

It would be easy in this show to get lost in the impressive visual spectacle, the twirling dancers, and the carefully curated score, but at no single moment do we forget that at its core this is the story of a boy who just wants to be loved. It is a story told in a dazzling and impressive manner which still bares its beautiful soul for all to see.

Runs Until: 20 April 2024

The Reviews Hub Score

A Beautiful Soul

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The South East team is under the editorship of Nicole Craft. 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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