Matthew Bourne made his name putting a twist on classic tales, most famously in his Swan Lake with male swans. In Edward Scissorhands, he makes a devoted attempt to recreate Tim Burton’s fairytale movie, without a revisionist edge in sight. Though the 2005 production has been tweaked for this revival, it remains a thin, mawkish tale.
Burton’s 1990 film starred Johnny Depp as a gothic sweetheart with scissors for hands, lost in American suburbia. On stage, Lez Brotherston’s brilliant designs conjure up a community of pastel houses, with neat driveways and soon-to-be-clipped hedges.
Bourne can’t match Burton’s balance of kitsch and real kindness. His suburbanites are gurning clichés: the all-American smiling family, the creepy religious extremists. They lack the repression and yearning this choreographer finds in their British equivalents. The storytelling is uncharacteristically clumsy, with flat pacing in the big confrontations. The dance scenes, such as the Christmas party or the dream ballet performed by Edward’s topiary hedges, lack Bourne’s usual narrative drive.
The production is dancier than it was, particularly for the hero. Dominic North has a trusting innocence as Edward, while his open, ardent movement gives the production some heart. Other performances are far too hammy.
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