REVIEW: Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, 13 March 2024

REVIEW: Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, 13 March 2024

By Bella Briscoe.

Matthew Bourne’s adaptation of Edward Scissorhands, which opened at Mayflower Theatre last night, is a magical journey that brings the beloved film to life on stage.

Bourne’s staging maintains Tim Burton’s trademark twisted style, but provides a fresh depth to the characters we know and love.

The chilling yet charming tale of acceptance and inclusion remains faithful to the film’s narrative and tone. 

There is a stunning contrast between the light and dark moments of the production. Despite being predominantly silent, there is a lot of humour in the town scenes, with fast paced music and modern and stylised dance. The sudden shift to Edward’s turmoil evoked a huge amount of sympathy from the audience.

Liam Mower excelled as Edward, capturing his awkward physicality with authenticity. Bourne’s choreography has an immense communicative power. No words spoken, and yet it was emotive and delicate. 

The unsung hero of the show is undoubtedly Lez Brotherston’s set design. Using 2D structures and forced perspective to create the illusion of a bustling town was very effective while reflecting an image familiar with the motion picture. The use of practical stage effects were just as impressive, while the lighting and projection work of Howard Harrison and Duncan McLean respectively were also powerful tools. 

The costumes designed by Lez Brotherston are also a highlight. With clear inspiration from Tim Burton’s signature aesthetic, the designs had the feeling of a dark yet whimsical fairytale. Every garment reflected the personality and essence of its wearer.

All of these elements came together in the final scene of the first act, the topiary garden.

Without giving away spoilers, the costumes were truly mesmerising, transporting the audience into a world of fantasy and romance. The scene is one of the few moments of “traditional” ballet style and it is romantic and effortlessly stunning. The moment swept me away to the extent I momentarily forgot about the ongoing complexities of the story.

It was a pure theatrical bliss that lingered long after the curtain fell.

My favourite scene from the film is when Edward carves an ice-sculpture of Kim and I was curious to know how they would adapt this for the stage. I was delighted to see it executed in the most enchanting moment of the production. The use of fake snow and projection created a beautiful spectacle, retaining the magic of the original scene and adding a theatrical flourish. 

Overall, Matthew Bourne’s adaptation of Edward Scissorhands is a masterful blend of visual spectacle and emotional depth.

Bourne’s interpretation breathes new life into the beloved story, offering a fresh perspective while remaining true to the essence of the original film. Edward Scissorhands proved to be an unforgettable experience that left a lasting impression on all who witnessed its magic unfold on stage.

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