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REVIEW: Edward Scissorhands at Newcastle Theatre Royal

Edward Scissorhands

Newcastle Theatre Royal

Wednesday 27 March – Saturday 6 April 2024

Edward Scissorhands is the latest tale to get the Sir Matthew Bourne treatment and it has landed at the Theatre Royal for two weeks. A packed theatre was given a real treat on opening night as the fairy tale is brought to life by a hard working cast and some clever lighting and stage design.

Based upon the 1990 Tim Burton movie, this version of the story has had some minor changes in order to fit with the the demand of a dance show. Having said that, the delivery has much in common with the storytelling of the silent film era, including the ability to make the audience laugh at the light hearted moments. Whilst this is a dance show, the plot is central to the action and it was easy to follow.

At first we have Xavier Andriambolanoro Sotiya as Young Edward playing with scissors when he is struck by lightning and he dies. Sadly this leads to a funeral. Some years later The inventor (Luke Murphy) creates an almost Frankenstein type creature that is brought to life. The humanoid has scissors for hands whilst he works on traditional hands. Before such hands are fitted, the premises are broken into by local youths on Halloween and the Inventor dies of a heart attack leaving Edward with just scissors for hands. 

Edward ventures into town and is taken in by Peg Boggs (Kerry Biggin), her husband Bill (Glenn Graham) and their two children Kevin (Sotiya) and Kim (Ashley Shaw). Edward takes a shine to Kim but she is more interested in Jim Upton (Benjamin Barlow Bazeley) and this leads to some friction in the community. Things start to look up for Edward, within the community, when he turns his skills to a spot of topiary and hairdressing.  But, as is often the case in fairy tales, the path rarely takes a straight forward direction.

You have Kim's boyfriend who is less than keen on Edward and some religious neighbours, The Evercreech's, who don't approve and add sufficient friction to keep the story interesting.

As a performance it works as you care about the characters. There are times on stage when Edward is alone and you feel for his circumstances. There are other points in the show, including the Christmas party, when Bourne fills the stage with  dancing. I don't think you could but more people on the stage without them getting in the way leading to a spectacle of colour. Each person has their own personality, no matter how minor they are to the overall picture.

The show runs for just under two hours including the interval and hence it doesn't has any excess padding that you sometimes get with, say, musical adaptions. It is a lean efficient story with a nice edge of clever sets and lighting to help the tale flow and still feel a bit weird - just like the original movie. I loved how the individuality of each character even extends to the uniqueness of their costume.

At the curtain call Liam Mower, quite rightly, was given an ovation after an impressive performance that sees him on stage for much of the time. This show benefits from a hard working cast performing in a great fairytale that is well told. A recommended watch for the Easter break.

Review: Stephen Oliver

Photos: Johan Persson


Edward Scissorhands plays Newcastle Theatre Royal Wednesday 27 March – Saturday 6 April 2024. Tickets can be purchased at or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 0191 232 7010.


Preview: The 39 Steps at Newcastle Theatre Royal


The Crown actor to star in The 39 Steps at Newcastle Theatre Royal

The 39 Steps,

Newcastle Theatre Royal

Tuesday 9 – Saturday 13 April 2024

For the first time in eight years, the Tony and Olivier Award-winning comedy, The 39 Steps, is to tour the UK, where Newcastle Theatre Royal will be the first stop outside of London.

Tom Byrne (The Crown; Bridgerton) will play Richard Hannay and will be joined by Safeena Ladha (She, Tara Theatre) as Annabella Schmidt / Pamela / Margaret.

Eugene McCoy (Wonka; Matilda) will star as Clown 1, and in the first time this production has cast a female identifying actor as one of the Clowns, Maddie Rice (Fleabag, National Theatre; Henry V, Noel Coward Theatre) will star as Clown 2. Jacob Daniels and Hannah Parker are understudies.

Follow the incredible adventures of our handsome hero Richard Hannay, complete with stiff-upper-lip, British gung-ho and pencil moustache as he encounters dastardly murders, double-crossing secret agents and, of course, devastatingly beautiful women.

This wonderfully inventive and gripping comedy thriller features four fearless actors, playing 139 roles in 100 minutes of fast-paced fun and thrilling action.

Patrick Barlow’s hilarious adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic spy thriller ran in London’s West End for nine years, finally closing in 2015.  It won the Olivier Award and What’s On Stage Award for Best Comedy in 2007 and on Broadway won two Tony Awards and a Drama Desk Award in 2008.  The 39 Steps has toured to 39 countries and played to over 3 million people worldwide.

Photos: Mark Senior


The 39 Steps plays Newcastle Theatre Royal Tuesday 9 – Saturday 13 April 2024. Tickets can be purchased at or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 0191 232 7010.

Preview: & JULIET at Sunderland Empire


Matt Cardle to play Shakespeare in award-winning musical & JULIET in Sunderland



Sunderland Empire

Tuesday 10 – Saturday 21 September 2024


The producers of the global sensation & JULIET are delighted to announce that multi-platinum selling recording artist and award-winning West End actor, Matt Cardle, will play the role of Shakespeare in the upcoming UK and Ireland tour. He joins the previously announced Gerardine Sacdalan as Juliet, Sandra Marvin as Angélique and Lara Denning as Anne. The UK and Ireland tour will visit Sunderland Empire from Tuesday 10 – Saturday 21 September 2024.

Also in the cast are Jack Danson (Mamma Mia, Novello Theatre) as Romeo, Kyle Cox (Crazy For You, Gillian Lynne Theatre & Chichester Festival Theatre) as Francois, Jordan Broatch (42 Balloons, The Lowry & Vaudeville Theatre) as May, Michael Nelson (Dirty Dancing, UK & International Tour) as Henry, Liam Morris (The Bodyguard, UK Tour) as Richard, Jade Johnson (Book of Mormon, Prince of Wales Theatre) as Nell / Lady C, Rosie Singha (Love Never Dies concert, Theatre Royal Drury Lane) as Judith, Nia Stephen (Cinderella, Imagine Theatre) as Imogen, Psalms-Nissi Myers-Reid (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Theatre Royal Drury Lane) as Lucy/Alternate Juliet, Andilé Mabhena (Shrek The Musical, UK & Ireland Tour) as Augustine / Dance Team, Harriet Caplan-Dean (SIX, West End, UK Tour & International Tour), as Eleanor, Alexander Kranz (To Wong Foo, Hope Mill Theatre) as Lennox Aaron Shales (& Juliet, Shaftesbury Theatre) as Gregory / Dance Team, Toni Paise (theatrical debut) as Violet and Samuel Wilson-Freeman (Mrs Doubtfire, Shaftesbury Theatre) as Fletcher / Resident Director and Dance Captain. 

Matt Cardle rose to fame as the winner of The X Factor’s highest ever rated series in 2010, beating One Direction who came third. His performance with Rihanna on the show has been viewed over 41 million times on YouTube and his debut single When We Collide, taken from his platinum selling debut album, has sold over 1.1 million copies. Since then, Matt has released four studio albums and has collaborated with artists such as Melanie C and Gary Barlow, the latter on Run For Your Life, which has amassed over 22 million streams to date. Matt is also set to release his fifth studio album later this year.

Original Broadway Cast - Photo: Matthew Murphy

Matt starred as Huey Calhoun in Memphis (Shaftesbury Theatre, Wes End) alongside Beverley Knight, for which he received the WhatsOnStage award for ‘Best West End Debut.’ He also appeared as Wally Strand in Strictly Ballroom (Piccadilly Theatre) and Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar (Barbican Theatre).


There is life after Romeo!


Get whisked away on a fabulous journey as Juliet ditches her famous ending for a fresh beginning and a second chance at life and love—her way. Created by the Emmy-winning writer from “Schitt’s Creek,” this hilarious new musical flips the script on the greatest love story ever told and asks, what would happen next if Juliet didn’t end it all over Romeo?

Original Broadway Cast - Photo: Matthew Murphy

Juliet’s new story bursts to life through a playlist of pop anthems as iconic as her name, including Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time,” Katy Perry’s “Roar” and chart toppers “Since U Been Gone,” “It’s My Life,” “I Want It That Way,” and “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” — all from Max Martin, the genius songwriter/producer behind more #1 hits than any other artist this century, and his collaborators. Break free of the balcony scene and get into this romantic comedy that proves there’s life after Romeo. The only thing tragic would be missing it.

Original Broadway Cast - Photo: Matthew Murphy

& JULIET is a global success and an Olivier and WhatsOnStage Award winning and Tony Award nominated musical. The West End production at the Shaftesbury Theatre thrilled audiences from 2019-2023, with the smash-hit Broadway production, breaking box office records and entering its second year in November 2023 and a US tour set to embark in September 2024. The musical made its North American premiere with the pre-Broadway production opening at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto in 2022. The Australian production opened in Melbourne in February 2023 before heading to Marina Bay Sands in Singapore this summer and is currently playing a return engagement in Australia.

Original Broadway Cast - Photo: Matthew Murphy

The full creative team for the UK and Ireland tour of & JULIET includes David West Read (Book), Max Martin & Friends (Music & Lyrics), Luke Sheppard (Direction), Jennifer Weber (Choreography), Bill Sherman (Musical Supervision, Orchestrations and Arrangements), Soutra Gilmour (Scenic Design), Paloma Young (Costume Design), Howard Hudson (Lighting Design), Gareth Owen (Sound Design), Andrzej Goulding  (Video & Projection Design) and Suzy Bennett (Hair, Wig & Makeup Design) and Dominic Fallacaro (Additional Arrangements and Orchestrations). Casting is by Stuart Burt.

Original Broadway Cast - Photo: Matthew Murphy

& JULIET is presented by Max Martin and Tim Headington and is produced by Max Martin, Tim Headington, Theresa Steele Page, Jenny Petersson, Martin Dodd and Rebecca Quigley.


On The Web:


Instagram: @julietmusical

Facebook: @julietmusical                                                       

X: @julietmusical

YouTube: @julietmusical1925  



& JULIET will wow Sunderland Empire audiences from Tuesday 10 – Saturday 21 September 2024Tickets available from:  *

*A £3.65 transaction fee applies to online bookings.



Interview: Edward Scissorhands Screenplay Writer Caroline Thompson On Matthew Bourne’s Adaptation


Edward Scissorhands Screenplay Writer Caroline Thompson On Matthew Bourne’s Adaptation

Edward Scissorhands

Newcastle Theatre Royal

Wednesday 27 March – Saturday 6 April 2024

Devised, directed and choreographed by Sir Matthew Bourne OBE and based on the original motion picture directed by Tim Burton with screenplay by Caroline Thompson; the highly anticipated dance production Edward Scissorhands, promises a witty, emotional and bittersweet story of an incomplete boy left alone in a strange new world when it plays Newcastle Theatre Royal this week.

Edward Scissorhands was born in June 1986 in the Bombay Bicycle Club restaurant in West Los Angeles, California, when Tim Burton, then a little-known director and producer was having a drink at the bar with Caroline Thompson, an American novelist and screenwriter.

“We had been introduced a couple of months earlier by our agents,” Caroline shares, “They had put us together because they didn’t know quite what to do with either one of us!”

At that time, Tim had directed one hugely popular but peculiar feature film, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Caroline was the author of a virtually unknown and peculiar Gothic novel called First Born.

Happily, the pair liked one another immediately and wanted to work together, over time discussing possible ideas. “Then, on that evening at the Bombay Bicycle Club, [Tim] told me about a drawing he had made in school. It was a boy who had scissors instead of hands.”

“Sometimes a story arrives all at once. Edward Scissorhands was just such a story.” It landed in an instant – the instant after Tim told Caroline about his drawing and was instantly exhilarating for them. The story occupied realms both held dear and spun cunningly on the Frankenstein story.

It examined the shiny surfaces of suburbia and the ugly underneath. It conjured childhood, the nostalgia and the resentments, yet, at the same time, Caroline admits it seemed “totally ridiculous, stupid even.”

Its central metaphor seemed excruciatingly obvious to her – “If you have no hands, you can’t touch; if you can’t touch, you can’t have contact; if you can’t have contact, you can’t connect, you can’t belong, you’re left out, if, additionally, instead of hands you wield scissors, sharp blades, everything you do actually dare to touch rips or shreds or turns to tatters...” She shrugs.

Initially, the movie was going to be a musical and Caroline postponed writing the screenplay, determining first to write an extended treatment in prose. The concept may have landed in an instant, but Caroline still had to explore and articulate it.

“It’s difficult to explain,” she starts, “I felt that my job as the writer was to follow the story where it went rather than to tell it where to go. The best work is like that. It feels bizarrely ego-less.”

What she discovered along the way was that the very obviousness, the naiveté, the fable-like simplicity of their silly, out-sized metaphor gave direct access to feelings. “It led me straight to the emotional jugular.” She laughs.

“Three blurry weeks later I had seventy-five pages or so to give to Tim. We decided to forget about songs and to trust the power of the emotions.”

Then, the screenplay, by way of Tim’s wizardry, became a movie and now the story of Edward Scissorhands has surfaced again – this time to be told through the genius of Matthew Bourne.

“Matthew is Edward’s perfect conduit. His is a brilliant wit. He thrives on whimsy – one gets to laugh while watching a Matthew ballet. And not just a little, but to laugh a lot." Caroline smiles.

The New Adventures company are world renowned for not only their dancers’ technicality, but their alertness to their feelings and awareness of what’s happening in the tale. Story drives Director and Choreographer Matthew Bourne’s productions, yet he can capture the deepest emotion with the tiniest gesture. He plays with rhythm and movement in a unique way and captures the story of Edward Scissorhands using a hauntingly beautiful score based on the original motion picture compositions by Danny Elfman with new music and arrangements created by Terry Davies.

Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake and Nutcracker! remain two of the most amazing pieces of theatre Caroline has ever seen. Watching them for the first time, she shares of how she perched on the edge of the seat, still as stone, gaping in awe.

“I had the same experience the first time I watched Matthew’s fun and tender interpretation of Edward Scissorhands. And now, nearly twenty years later, we all get to watch the magic again! I am forever thrilled and beyond grateful to have been one of the catalysts behind this beautiful ballet.”

Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures are a firm favourite with Newcastle Theatre Royal audiences, having dazzled with renowned productions including Sleeping Beauty and Nutcracker! in recent years.

Can Edward find his place in the well-meaning community which struggles to see past his curious appearance to the innocence and gentleness within?

Photos: Johan Persson


Edward Scissorhands plays Newcastle Theatre Royal Wednesday 27 March – Saturday 6 April 2024. Tickets can be purchased at or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 0191 232 7010.


News: Ian McKellen returns to Newcastle Theatre Royal


Ian McKellen returns to Newcastle Theatre Royal


Sir Ian McKellen is set to make a triumphant return to Newcastle Theatre Royal – once heralded as his favourite theatre – this summer in Player Kings with a limited run of four stunning performances only, from Wednesday 24 – Saturday 27 July 2024, to round off its UK tour.

Tickets for this epic production, which also stars Toheeb Jimoh (Ted Lasso; Romeo and Juliet) as Prince Harry and Richard Coyle (Ink; Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore) as King Henry IV, are expected to be in high demand when they go on sale next month.

Ian McKellen 'one of the world's greatest actors' (Times) - plays Falstaff in this new version of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, adapted by the award-winning writer and director Robert Icke, and said today, “Player Kings is a version of Shakespeare’s most English plays. So I am glad we are bringing our production across the country which they celebrate.”

Bringing together Shakespeare's two great history plays (Henry IV, parts 1 and 2), Player Kings will reign over London’s West End for twelve weeks only, before touring the country and closing the run of performances at Newcastle Theatre Royal in July 2024.

A divided country, leadership crumbling, corruption in the air. Welcome to England.

Hal wasn't born to be king. Only now, it seems, he will be. His father longs for him to leave behind his friends in the taverns of Eastcheap, most notably the infamous John Falstaff. War is on the horizon. But will Hal ever come good?

The cast comprises Ian McKellen as Sir John Falstaff, Toheeb Jimoh (Ted Lasso & Romeo and Juliet) as Prince Harry and Richard Coyle (Ink & Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore) as King Henry IV, with Raphael Akuwudike (Prince John), Sara Beharrell (Snare/Davy), Samuel Edward-Cook (Hotspur/Pistol), Geoffrey Freshwater (Bardolph), James Garnon (Worcester/Justice Silence), Alice Hayes (Messenger), Henry Jenkinson (Harcourt), Nigel Lister (Northumberland/Francis) Annette McLaughlin (Warwick), Mark Monero (Peto), Hywel Morgan (Sir Walter Blunt), Joseph Mydell (Lord Chief Justice), Clare Perkins (Mistress Quickly), Daniel Rabin (Poins), David Semark (Sir Richard Vernon), David Shelley (Sheriff), Robin Soans (Justice Shallow), Tafline Steen (Doll Tearsheet/Lady Percy) and Perry Williams (Douglas/Prince Thomas) completing the cast.

The production features Set and Costume designed by Hildegard Bechtler, Lighting by Lee Curran with Sound designed by Gareth Fry. The production Casting Director is Julia Horan CDG, Fight Director Kev McCurdy, and its Associate Costume Designer Johanna Coe. Hair and Make-up is designed by Susanna Peretz and the productions’ Associate Directors are Jack Bradfield and Lizzie Manwaring.

Player Kings is produced by Ambassador Theatre Group Productions, Gavin Kalin Productions, No Guarantees and David & Hannah Mirvish, Rupert Gavin & Mallory Factor Partnership, and Sayers & Sayers Productions.


Player Kings visits Newcastle Theatre Royal Wednesday 24 – Saturday 27 July 2024.

Tickets are expected to be extremely popular and will be on sale to Friends of Newcastle Theatre Royal from Wednesday 17 April, Groups and Schools from Tuesday 23 April, and on General sale from Thursday 25 April.

Memberships, giving patrons priority access to booking periods, along with discount on tickets, drinks, and the opportunity to attend exclusive ‘members-only’ events, can be purchased at , from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 0191 232 7010 or by emailing