Matthew Bourne’s homoerotic Swan Lake (the swans were all men) toured Australia to great success last year so there is no shortage of interest in his latest venture, Edward Scissorhands.

Two and a bit years into its life, Edward Scissorhands has enjoyed sell-out seasons in the UK and big tours to USA, Japan and Korea. And Bourne expects Australian audiences to follow suit.

The important thing is you win over the audience through the storytelling, he said.

In bringing Edward Scissorhands to the stage, Bourne borrows liberally from Tim Burton’s 1990 film starring Johnny Depp. To complement the dance production there are expanded sequences and a narrative re-write.

Bourne said he was attracted to the film because of the two worlds that it inhabits -“ the Gothic horror film world of Edward pitted against the very ordinary world of American suburbia.

But while he pays homage to the brilliance of the film, particularly the portrayal of Edward the outsider by a young Depp, he’s keen to point out the differences in his stage adaptation.

The story begins with the death of a young boy by lightning while playing with scissors, Bourne said.

His father in his grief feels he needs to replace his son and being an inventor he creates a boy who has scissor hands -“ this is something that we’ve developed ourselves, it’s not the story that’s told in the film.

For the Australian production of Edward Scissorhands, Matthew Malthouse takes on the title role, wearing a sexy, leather ribbed body suit and strangely mechanical hands.

It’s a very scary role to take on because it’s something that a lot of people hold so dear, Malthouse said.

There’s also the added pressure of trying to follow up anything Johnny Depp has done.

It’s impossible to talk with Malthouse in costume without staring at the gothic scissor hands. Attached to sturdy leather gloves they’re grossly exaggerated in size and form the basis of Bourne’s choreography. It’s easy to see how they’re the perfect metaphor for the disconnected outsider of Edward.

Malthouse said the large clipper hands motivated an extensive rehearsal workshop process to discover the Edward Scissorhands dance style.

The whole concept of dancing without using your hands was very new -“ nobody has ever done that before, he said.

If the hype is to be believed, this production of Edward Scissorhands is set to follow in the film’s cult status, resonating with a whole heap of people who don’t normally take in glossy dance productions. As both Bourne and Malthouse admit, there is a little bit of Edward in everyone.

Edward Scissorhands opens at the Sydney Opera House on 29 May but tickets are on sale now. Bookings: 9250 7777 or www.sydneyoperahouse.com.

From bnews -“ www.bnews.net.au

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