Edward Scissorhands – Review – Bradford Alhambra

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Edward Scissorhands – Review

Bradford Alhambra, February 2015

by Sandra Callard

Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands, conceived by him in 2005 in homage to Tim Burton’s wonderful 1990 film, has taken to the road once more. Bourne’s touring company, New Adventures, has the respect and admiration of theatregoers the world over since it was set up in 2002. I went along to the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford to test the strength of this new revival.

edward scissorhands reviewKeeping the quaint setting of small town America in the fifties, and based around the antics of six differing families, each one a parody of the perfect family: mum, dad, son and daughter, the setting keeps the flavour of Burton’s film. The music is based on Danny Elfman’s ethereal original score and sympathetically adapted by Terry Davies.

Edward Scissorhands is a modern fairy tale. An old woman introduces proceedings. We know she loved Edward, but her identity is not known. We know little about Edward too. Only that he is a boy created, not by a mad scientist, but by a loving inventor upon the demise of a previous Edward. His hands of five scissors apiece are meant to be there temporarily. But the inventor dies before the normal hands can be fitted. Edward flees, unsure and afraid of the world he has been catapulted into. He is played beautifully by Liam Mower, who succeeds in generating the boy’s compassion and hope of acceptance, so much at variance with his threatening appearance.

edward scissorhands theatre review

“Touching dream sequence”

He is found and taken into the household of the philanthropic Boggs family. Here the inevitable happens, and he falls in love with the daughter of the household, the beautiful Kim, perfectly played by Katy Lowenhoff. One minute she spurns Edward, the next she is drawn to him. He dare not make an approach to her, but he can dream. In a beautiful and touching dream sequence he dances with Kim as his scissors give way to new hands. It is enchanting and – fairytale or not – a few tears are shed.

edward scissorhands review alhambra

The entire members of New Adventures can multi-task. Each can take on the role of another at a moment’s notice. They are always fully conversant with the story and the characters and, as such, bring a deep and knowledgeable empathy to their roles. I particularly like watching Madelaine Brennan as the kindly Peg Boggs. She is superb and utterly believable throughout. I also admire the way she never loses a step when her shoe falls off during a particularly energetic dance sequence! It is very adroitly removed by another cast member and Peg continues her dance shoeless. Lovely!

“A magical production”

Also worthy of note is Daisy May Kemp’s wonderfully sexy and funny portrayal of Joyce Monroe, the town siren. Are those legs real? Do they really go up to her armpits! But her tour de force is when, stinging from Edward’s rebuff of her, her wrath is ameliorated somewhat as she sits on top of a shuddering washer. Her face is indescribable!

Edward Scissorhands plays to a full house and an appreciative audience with three curtain calls. The final scene is set at Christmas and as the house cheers the snow falls gently on cast and audience alike. This is a magical production which has sadness and joy in equal proportion. My partner on the night had never seen ballet or a Bourne production before. She will again.

images: Johan Persson

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