Edward Scissorhands

Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

Four stars

Hope Springs… Oh how we wish that the optimistic name of this small American town will prove lucky for the lonely waif at the heart of Matthew Bourne’s potent choreography. After all - added in a recent tweak - there’s a same-sex couple (of guys) with a baby who are totally accepted by the community.

Given this is set in the 1950s, surely this shows Hope Springs is an open-minded, welcoming refuge for Edward? That - like the kindly Peg Boggs - local folk will see beyond Edward’s scary snicketty-snick scissor-hands and recognise his vulnerabilities, his longing to fit in and be a normal part of their society?

We wish… Not least because dancer Stephen Murray is so attuned to Edward’s naive inner being, he is able to draw us into what it feels like to be an outsider, literally unable to be in touch with other people.


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Not that the town sex-pot is deterred by his scissor-hands - her determined advances leave the innocent Edward bewildered, bothered but far from bewitched. Bourne weaves their encounters into the rich vein of comedy that percolates through the action, astutely getting under the town’s veneer of respectability to reveal grubby secrets. Meanwhile Edward has fallen in love with Peg’s daughter Kim - a series of exquisite duets brings them together in a tender closeness that deserves a happy ending.

Oh, if only… Bourne - like film-maker Tim Burton before him - allows a recognisable reality to bite hard: in our society, any obvious difference invites hostility, bullying, even destructive harm.

It’s a decade since Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands was last seen in Glasgow: this current revival is a welcome reminder of what a creative force he is, with designer Lez Brotherston’s period sets and costumes an apt framework for the big ensembles and intimate moments alike.

Bourne’s flair for perceptive story-telling through movement - that movement superbly delivered by his New Adventures company - touches home again. Take hankies