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Edward Scissorhands review (The Marlowe Theatre)

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When I think of world-class dance theatre, my mind instantly goes to Sir Matthew Bourne and the unbelievably talented New Adventures. Highly regarded for their ability to tell stories through dance, the group are back in Canterbury this week, bringing Edward Scissorhands to The Marlowe Theatre. After thoroughly enjoying Bourne’s gothic take on Sleeping Beauty last year, I was thrilled to head to the theatre last night and review their latest touring production, which actually first debuted in 2005. Fresh off the back of a Christmas run at Sadler’s Wells, the show is based on Tim Burton’s iconic film and set to new music and arrangements that build on Danny Elfman’s incomparable score. In an emotive and imaginative piece of dance theatre, the company entice audiences into the magical world of Edward Scissorhands, making them believe in the impossible.

Sir Matthew Bourne's Edward Scissorhands programme in front of the stage at The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury

Choreography and musicality

It goes without saying that I adored the variety of dance styles within the production, from Kim’s (Ashley Shaw) elegant ballet sequences to the lively partnership work at the Christmas ball. It is the company’s sense of musicality that stood out most of all though, with every step or exchange being exquisitely choreographed to the renowned musical themes. The timing is impeccable, with the dancers and orchestra completely in sync. To reach this level of precision throughout the entire production is no easy feat, and I have to commend the company and creative team on such a monumental achievement.

© Johan Persson

Whilst I found the dance numbers to be a highlight, at moments the lengthy group routines disrupted the flow of the narrative, most notably in the case of the Christmas party scene. It didn’t impact my enjoyment, I just found myself momentarily getting lost in the mesmerising routines and almost ‘switching off’ from the wider story.

Imaginative set design

The sets are where the fantasy elements soar. From the magic of the snow sequences to toying with scale in the recreation of picture-perfect suburbia, set and costume designer Lez Brotherston has really captured the essence of the source material. The original film flips between gothic and maximalist styles and audiences are treated to these exciting contrasts in the theatrical version too.

Detail in the costumes

For a show with so many individual personalities, there must be hundreds of costumes and wigs. The intricate costumes help to visualise character development in both the minor and major roles, reflecting large changes such as the acceptance of Edward into society and smaller ones like the progression of the seasons. This attention to detail makes the audience feel like they get to know the entire town, rather than just the principal characters. It is a refreshing creative decision that accentuates the talents of the company.

© Johan Persson


In a production with no spoken word, the performers have their work cut out for them in bringing to life the memorable and stereotypical personalities of the fictional town. The exaggerated facial expressions and body language are utterly captivating, adding humour and drama to the intricate dance steps. The movements don’t just extend to characters however, there are some clever examples of physical theatre including the recreation of cars and Edward’s mimicking of a music box.

© Johan Persson

A standout moment is Liam Mower in the title role, perfectly encapsulating the character’s innocence and bewilderment through intentionally mechanical movement. Kerry Biggin is also endearing as Pegg Boggs, bringing maternal kindness and heart to the production. In terms of ensemble performances, the overly dramatic and hilarious interpretation of the religious Evercreech family (Mami Tomtani, Reece Causton, Holly Saw and Aristide Lyons) caught my attention on multiple occasions. You couldn’t help but laugh at the group’s intentionally over-the-top performance styles and fantastic stage presence.

A visual masterpiece

Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands is an outstanding example of dance theatre, featuring superb choreography, magical storytelling and enchanting visual design. For a show without dialogue, I was so impressed by the company’s ability to recreate complex and memorable characters through movement and expression. The show is playing in Canterbury until Saturday 27th January, with the last few tickets available via the theatre’s website. A show not to be missed, this interpretation of Edward Scissorhands is absolutely mesmerising.

Thanks for reading my blog today.

Love Kat xxxx

*My ticket for Edward Scissorhands was gifted in exchange for an unbiased review.



  1. Shawna Paxton says:

    I saw this in London, with brilliant Stephen Murray in the lead role. I absolutely loved it, in spite of idiotic protesters interrupting the performance. I thought everything about it was superb & can’t wait for another opportunity to see it again.

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