Express & Star

'Bringing fantasy to life purely through movement' – Our five star review of Edward Scissorhands at Birmingham Hippodrome

The spectacular contemporary ballet, Edward Scissorhands graces the stage at the Birmingham Hippodrome this week, courtesy of the unique talents of devisor/director/choreographer Matthew Bourne and his company of incredible dancers, New Adventures.

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Matthew Bourne’s Ballet Edward Scissorhands at Birmingham Hippodrome

Based on the Tim Burton movie of the same name, Edward Scissorhands was first brought to life on stage in 2005 and since then has been reworked to include a new and exciting score, additional choreography, and stunning stage designs.

Matthew Bourne’s Ballet Edward Scissorhands at Birmingham Hippodrome
Matthew Bourne’s Ballet Edward Scissorhands at Birmingham Hippodrome
Matthew Bourne’s Ballet Edward Scissorhands at Birmingham Hippodrome

This is the tale of an incredibly special young man, who attempts to negotiate the perils of life and fit into suburbia after the unexpected demise of his creator. With, as the title of the piece would suggest, scissors for hands, Edward is desperate for acceptance and to find the love he has always craved.

But don’t think this is a sad tale. True, in parts you will find a tear in your eye, but Bourne has that ability to bring out the humour in everything he produces, making each of his works an uplifting, exciting, yet heart-wrenching experience, and Edward Scissorhands is no exception.

Similarly, the New Adventures dancers possess the ability to bring fantasy to life purely through movement, displaying exceptional skills and technique, but also as a company they have a close-knit, generous relationship with each other, which is evident in their performances.

They move as one to create Bourne’s quirky, distinctive imaginative characters. The ballet is a modern, fresh approach to dance and Bourne’s choreography in this particular piece is angular and sharp and there is not a pointe shoe in sight. Instead, there are elements of different aspects of dance, from traditional ballet to contemporary dance, to jazz, to acrobatics.

Liam Mower as Edward offered a faultless performance, with incredible skill, and his acting ability was equally outstanding, bringing this innocent, unusual character to life and straight into your affections.

His ability to move you is exceptional, and remember, there is no script and vocals at all in the piece; it is purely through movement.

New Adventures principal dancer Ashley Shaw, who is a personal favourite of mine, was as I expected outstanding as Kim, Edward’s love interest, with such strength and yet smooth movements, she simply floats across the stage. The lifts executed between Edward and Kim are a highlight of the piece and the tenderness and chemistry between the two extremely evident, particularly in the Ice Dance in Act Two.

Sophia Hurdley as Kim’s mother, Peg, is the epitome of a prim and proper 1950’s suburban mother and obviously an extremely experienced principal, and then with a completely contrasting character, , Nicole Kabera as the town temptress Joyce Monroe, is every inch the seductress, but with the knack of making you envy her confidence and laugh out loud!

Her husband George Monroe danced by Luke Murphy is nothing short of hilarious too, with his comic characterisation of a man who has no perception of his wife’s extra-marital activities. His run across the stage in Act Two is one of the best comedy moments in theatre I have ever experienced!

Each of the New Adventures company portrayed extremely specific individual characters throughout the ballet, including different family groups, all of whom are superbly acted out and danced to perfection.

Elfman and Davies’s score soars across the theatre, oozing drama, and emotion. The majority of the music is haunting and lilting, but there are also elements of jazz which lift the mood and light up the piece too.

The scenery and light effects are astonishing and extravagant, and create a world of complete fantasy, which allows audiences to escape to another place, a better place in fact.

Lez Brotherston’s costume designs are rich and sumptuous, with the beautiful tailoring of the era and then contrasted with fantasy and whimsical outfits for the Topiary Garden and the annual Christmas ball scenes.

Edward Scissorhands is a two-hour distraction from our hum-drum existence and not only a credit to its wonderful choreographer and superb performers, but also an unforgettable, unique theatrical experience guaranteed to entertain everyone, not just dance fans.

In short, Matthew Bourne is a creator of pure magic and Edward Scissorhands is a wonderful fantasy tale about acceptance, inclusiveness and essentially love. Unmissable.!

For tickets, visit or call 0844 338 5000. Runs until Saturday.