The successful 2005 dance adaptation of Edward Scissorhands returns to Bradford where Leo Owen caught the show

Enchanting audiences from the outset, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures captures the essence of Tim Burton's iconic film Edward Scissorhands. An elderly lady, leaning on her walking stick, emerges onto a snow-covered stage. Behind is a spooky house on a hill, juxtaposing the magic and melancholy of Caroline Thompson’s original story. Falling snowflakes gradually spell out "There once was a boy...", inviting viewers into a timeless fairy-tale realm where the ordinary meets the extraordinary.

The narrative unfolds with a striking blend of whimsy and tragedy, as a child holding scissors is struck by lightning, setting the stage for a leap forward in time to "many years later". Here, we encounter the grieving inventor, whose Halloween night takes a tragic turn as he falls victim to intruders just as he is on the cusp of bringing life to a creature, reminiscent of Frankenstein's tale.

Enter Edward, portrayed by Stephen Murray, a figure clad in brown leather with sewn-on limbs, wild electrified hair, and hands resembling enormous scissors. With this captivating introduction, the stage is set for an unforgettable exploration of love, loss, and the search for belonging in a world that often misunderstands the beauty within the unconventional.

Lez Brotherton's set and costume design in the production wonderfully encapsulates the essence of Spring Hopes’ community, with steering wheels depicting the morning commute and pastel-coloured matching houses. The dream-like backdrops, intertwined with snowfall, create a mesmerizing ambiance, enhanced by moving projected video settings.

Despite the storyline delving into isolation and doomed love, the show offers plenty of laughter, particularly in the comedic meeting of Edward and Peg (Sophia Hurdley). From Edward's struggles with dressing himself to the hilarious athletic showdown between husbands, humour abounds. The playful barbecue scene, complete with a conga line and Edward's desperate attempts to fit in, adds to the carnival-like atmosphere. Even the simple act of teenagers playing rock, paper, scissors with Edward injects charm.

Salon Edwardo opens the second half with a delightful twist, featuring a poodle sporting a haircut reminiscent of Edward. The frenzied music perfectly complements Edward's newfound popularity, while sexual innuendos add unexpected further light-relief.

Bourne’s choreography is cleverly executed, almost more physical theatre than dance at times, expertly capturing the nuance of his characters’ emotions. Throughout the performance, Murray's facial expressions evoke a Chaplin-like quality, transitioning from almost robotic child-like innocence to incredibly expressive. The ensemble numbers are masterfully choreographed, particularly the climactic Christmas party scene, which feels natural and exudes holiday spirit. Topiary creations fluidly dancing impress, alongside an exquisite ice sculpture pas de deux with Edward and Kim (Ashley Shaw).

The production's stylized approach and lush sets, complete with snow falling onto the audience, create a visually rich experience that overwhelms the senses. This is a faithful loving “adventure” from Mathew Bourne, rather than “new”, staying true to source material, with original scores by Danny Elfman and some new numbers from Terry Davies. Ultimately, the production delivers a tortured love story filled with pathos, compelling audiences to confront what it means to be an outsider. Truly spellbinding viewing.

Edward Scissorhands showed at The Alhambra 9-13 April before continuing its tour of the UK: