Edinburgh Festival Theatre – until 18th May 2024

 Reviewed by Rachel Farrier


Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Ballet productions can almost be guaranteed to be a joy and a treat, and this magical, transporting production of Edward Scissorhands proved to be no exception. 

Many will be familiar with Tim Burton’s 1990 gothic romantic film upon which the ballet is based, and the tale of the acceptance but ultimate rejection of an individual who is ‘different’ to the tight knit, small town community in which they find themselves certainly feels as relevant now as it did then. The performers comprise 6 families of 2 parents (including one same sex couple for this production) and 2 kids, and the uniformity which excludes Edward is a recurring theme throughout. 

The choreography is sublime, and as ever with New Adventures, glides effortlessly between classical ballet, jazz and modern styles. I especially enjoyed the full company sequences at the summer barbeque and the Christmas Ball  – there was an almost palpable energy fizzing its way from the stage to the audience. The gorgeous costumes in these scenes add to this sense of vitality (think the best of 1950s sumptous designs with satin and tulle and sharp suits, alongside the uniform of American movie childhood: baseball outfits and cheerleader style dresses). 

Lez Brotherston’s exceptional costume and set designs arguably bring as much to the ballet as the dancing, creating the atmosphere and vibe of small town, family-centric, identikit-home mid 20th century America. A dream sequence in which Edward has ‘normal’ hands and dances with Kim Boggs amongst the park topiary is visually stunning as dancers are dressed as topiary themselves (it did not look as if they could possibly see out of their full-cover costumes, but surely they did?!). 

Liam Mower in the titular role beautifully conveys the full range of Edward’s developing emotional states, and the moment in which he first interacts with a regular human in Peg Bogs (whose love and acceptance are beautifully portrayed by Mami Tomotami), as she wipes blood from his face, is in particular deeply moving. 

For me, the stand out dancer of the night was Holly Saw as Kim Bogs –  both the incredible energy and execution with which she danced, and the achingly beautiful way in which she conveyed the arc of her character’s maturing emotions were exceptional and felt like the sentimental heart of the show. The second sequence in which Kim and Edward dance together including lifts which use no hands (due to Edwards blades) is spine-tingling and really quite extraordinary.

Nicole Kabera and Luke Murphy also deserve special mention as the Monroes, providing, by turns, glamour and comedy which light up the stage and brings a warm connection with the audience.

This is ballet ++ and the standing ovation at the end of last night’s performance was testament to the way in which production had captured the hearts of its audience.