Matthew Bourne's Edward Scissorhands
Matthew Bourne's Edward Scissorhands

Matthew Bourne has such a unique approach to ballet which is why he is at the forefront of the British dance scene.

Above all, he is an amazing storyteller and this production of Edward Scissorhands demonstrates that perfectly. A well crafted dance production where the main character has a set of blades for fingers on each hand, is it possible?

For those who haven't seen the cult movie, the story follows the project of an inventor whose own son dies when he is struck by lightning while playing with scissors. The whole narrative explores how Edward tries to fit in to suburban America and The American Dream.

We are introduced to 1950's America with its white picket fences, where everybody knows each others business and where the characters look as though they have been painted onto the stage.

Les Brotherston's Burton-esque set design is remarkable and coupled with Howard Harrison's atmospheric lighting design, the passage of time is illustrated beautifully - moving through from the perfect little houses lit up at night to the pink sky of dawn.

There is so much to notice on stage, different families and groups of people, each with their own characters. There doesn't need to be any subtlety here, as each family is reduced to a manageable caricature.

It is easy for the audience to follow and an appropriate source of humour, particularly, when we watch each of the families driving out for the day using only a steering wheel to suggest the journey.

Dominic North gives a breathtaking performance as Edward - from the moment we first see him created, with his jerky, awkward movements, his unruly hair and his blades glinting in the light. He gives us comedy when he tries to escape the clutches of the adulterous vamp and moves many of the audience to tears during the duet with his love interest, Kim Boggs, around the snow angel that he has just carved.

All of the performance is backed by Terry Davies' magical musical score, moving seamlessly from a big band style arrangement at Hope Springs Christmas Ball through to Danny Elfman's haunting original theme.

But, it is Bourne's layering of the original story which really makes this production special. Bourne uses various different styles of dance in his choreography, most noticeably rock n roll, however Edward moves in a balletic style and so differently from the other characters.

From the moment he finds the ballerina in a music box he tries to emulate her and this is another reason that he stands out in performance, aside from having blades for fingers. It is the story of a boy who is different and his struggle to fit in to the accepted society.

This unmissable show was greeted by a well-deserved standing ovation- if you can get tickets, you really should go.

Edwards Scissorhands is at the Lowry until 29 November.