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Ian Waller and his daughter enjoy an evening of theatrical brilliance with the latest Matthew Bourne production arriving in Bristol

There’s a genius about Matthew Bourne productions which simply overshadows other ballets. The stories become so much more than traditional offerings, with multi-faceted plot lines incorporating innovative choreography and superb acting skills. The result is a richness in the telling supported by strong performances and such imaginative stage settings.

Edward Scissorhands, which is playing at the Bristol Hippodrome until 9 March, is a perfect example. This joyous, soulful, high kitsch and perfectly entertaining production is simply one of the best shows you’re going to see for a very long time.

Photo: Johan Persson –

From the start, the sell-out crowd at the Hippodrome is immersed in magic as we enter the world of perfect privet hedges, poodle skirt dresses, sharp suits and coiffured hair dos, all shook up with the arrival of the most unusual of visitors, a simple soul with scissors for hands and soul that’s aching to be loved. The new guy is Edward Scissorhands, the creation of a heart-broken scientist father who dies tragically before his child is complete.

While the super straight suburban norm is initially repelled by this most un-Christian creation, when a loving mother and her family take him in, he graduates from freak to friend, albeit with an overawing feeling of suspicion and mistrust.

Photo: Johan Persson –

All in all, this Tim Burton story is ideal material for the remodelling mastery of Matthews Bourne. The weird and strangeness of this Frankenstein / Barbie meld is imbued with vivid colours and fixed grins along with a sense of Catholic guilt, into which the other wordly innocence of Edward is thrust. The whole thing is then brought to life with beautiful movement and dance, presented with wonderful skill and also a tangible sense of the absurd.

The set pieces throughout are totally engrossing and fabulous. If you’ve been bought up on traditional ballets then I’m afraid you’re going to have to forget all of that. This a stage full of story telling with so much happening at all time. Yes, the lead dancers, particularly Liam Mower as the awkward, tottering Edward, are awesome, but this is in every way an ensemble piece.

Photo: Johan Persson –

However, don’t expect a Michael Jackson, Thriller-esque, everyone doing the same thing is perfect time type of vibe. When it’s Matthew Bourne is command, there are subplots and character studies throughout. This means that even the set pieces have the dancers displaying their characters and foibles, from the repressed husband of the local scarlet lady (a term my old mum still uses!), to the geeky school kids with helicopter hats and the crucifix clutching doubters resplendent in bible black.

This was my daughter’s first ballet and we couldn’t have chosen a better example of how this wonderful medium had been brought into the modern world.

Seriously if you have to hide your granny’s walking frame to beat her in a race to the box office for the last few tickets, it’s well worth it.

Edwards Scissorhands runs at the Bristol Hippodrome until 9 March 2024. For more information and to book tickets, go to