Glenn Graham as teh Inventor and Liam Mower as Edward Scissorhands - Photo: Johan Persson

Tim Burton’s cult classic film becomes a lively, funny, and visually stunning modern ballet in this revival of Matthew Bourne’s reimagining of Edward Scissorhands.

While the original film is centred on Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the eponymous boy with blades as a whimsical innocent, Bourne shows him as a more rounded character, emerging from his shell and learning to love himself, and life, a little more.

Liam Mower brings the bewilderment in early scenes as Edward, but grows in stature and confidence as he becomes more welcomed by the community. Whereas the celluloid version is scared by the neighbourhood floosy’s attention, here the two dance a more entertaining and more knowing dalliance – though Stephanie Billers as Joyce still definitely leads the way, with deliciously comic flirtations.

Liam Mower as Edward Scissorhands – Photo: Johan Persson

The neighbour is also writ in brighter colours, with big dance numbers throwing flavours of a small town West Side Story crossed with snippets of Danny Elfman’s movie score – the sequence of the families driving round town has shivers of his The Simpsons theme tune too. The whole production is rippled through with humour with the dancing topiary hedges a particular delight, along with other surprises that I won’t spoil.

One of Bourne’s strength is his ensemble numbers, which marry technically-challenging synchronisation with dozens of minor stories and in-jokes; each dancer is part of the whole, but also brings their own character’s narrative to every movement. A Christmas party scene is a rich example of this, with your eyes darting all over to pick up on every subtle twist – from the mayor jostling for attention to the cuckolded husband trying (unsuccessfully) to wrest off his wedding ring in a big gesture. The action seamlessly parts for the principals when it needs to, always keeping the story going.

Bourne also manages great love stories, aided by dancers that act as well as they move. Ashley Shaw is effortless to watch as besotted Edward’s love interest, and the finale sees her pair with Mower for a charming pas de deux that includes lifts and moves you might think impossible when one dancer has scissors for hands.

This production brilliantly pays homage to the original film while being something very much of its own, with a bolder humour but every bit as much heart. It’s not one to snip from your diary.

  • Edward Scissorhands continues at Norwich Theatre Royal until Saturday, April 20, 2024