When a performance makes you forget to draw breath, you know you have just witnessed something quite spectacular.
That is exactly what happened to this reviewer during the final pas de deux of Matthew’s Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands, currently showing at the Liverpool Empire until Saturday.
Fans of the 1990 film will recognise Tim Burton’s 1950’s suburban backdrop, brought to life by set designer Lez Brotherston, where, Edward, a creation of a heart-broken inventor seeking to bring back the spirit of his dead child, finds himself taken in by Peg Boggs (Etta Murfitt).
As will they recognise Danny Elfman’s soaring soundtrack, supplemented by music from Terry Davies.
But it is the heart and tenderness of Dominic North’s performance of the principle character that captured the imagination of the audience, who showed their appreciation on opening night with a standing ovation.
Edward’s familiar jerky movements are spot-on and coupled with graceful yet powerful dance solos make up an incredible performance, as do the childlike inquisitive, caricature-esque facial expressions that almost make you forget his hands are made of razor-sharp scissors.
Matthew Bourne’s choreography allows the New Adventures company to convey the neighbours of Hope Springs in a comical and heartfelt way, impressing in group numbers, including through a dream sequence of dancing topiary and a jam-packed Christmas ball.
But it is North’s talents that truly shine during the final exchange between Edward and love interest, Kim (Ashley Shaw) where his ability to lift and interact with his partner, all the while keeping his “hands” out of the equation is quite truly, breath taking.