Edward Scissorhands (Tour-Plymouth Theatre Royal)

A GREAT fun frolic with a sharp edge.

Dominic North (Edward) in New Adventures Edward Scissorhands.
Dominic North (Edward) in New Adventures Edward Scissorhands.
© Johan Persson

Matthew Bourne again defies categorisation with his 2014 revival of Edward Scissorhands.

Seizing the iconic film, with full backing of co-writer, screen director and producer Tim Burton, composer Danny Elfman and original screenplay author Caroline Thompson, Bourne has created a larger than life, dance-drama full of cartoon characters, desperate housewives, cheerleaders, trailer trash and so much more.

Looking like a silent musical, Bourne crosses the lines again mixing moments of expected dance with an awful lot of non-dancing movement.

Dominic North (New Adventures stalwart) is a plaintive, endearing Edward, the manmade, tousled-haired lost boy whose attached implements prove both his fortune and his downfall.

North’s pas de deux with pompom-wielding girl-next-door Kim (a bubbly Ashley Shaw) are a delight – and a wonder as his unwieldy assorted cutlery is effortlessly accommodated in athletic and sweet duets.

Against a backdrop of Happy Day-esque 1950s America, Bourne is true to the 20th Century Fox film with a score penned by Terry Davies based on Elfman’s themes.

Lez Brotherston‘s comic strip set and costuming is superb with tremendous effects – particularly with topiary and snow – populated by stereotypical families. They are all here: evangelical Bible bashers; upright vote seekers; fag-sucking, baby-toting Wayne and Waynettas; leather-clad, dirty-dancing teens; illicit liaisons and competitive jogging.

Choreographer Bourne fills the stage with so much detail, it is impossible to catch it all. There’s dancing privet, exploding Christmas trees and backyard barbeques, set piece mime – and the corps is more than up to the demands made of it.

Of particular note is charismatic Saranne Curtin who vamps up the heaven-sent role of the minx-next-door Joyce Monroe. Her languid predatory swagger and leg-flashing posturing is compelling and who will ever forget the fantastic seduction scene and opportune spin cycle?

Moving from atmospheric darkness through glossy, colourful small town life to tragedy and pathos, there’s something for everyone as the standing ovation evidences.

Edward Scissorhands is clever, poignant and a story impressively told without words. Is it ballet? Dance? Silent physical theatre? Who knows and, with this much spectacle, who cares?