Review: The Car Man
Review by Anna Blackburn
Lights, camera, action! The opening of Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man is more like the opening of a film than what you would usually expect from a visit to “The Ballet”.
I’m not sure I have ever seen a better set at the Theatre Royal and the use of the space and light on the stage was incredible.
I came to see this show with a very biased perspective. I have seen previous Matthew Bourne productions including Edward Scissorhands and most recently, Swan Lake. I believe he is an incredibly forward-thinking choreographer who understands how to open a sometimes closed medium to a much wider audience. I absolutely love his interpretations of well-known ballets and The Car Man did not disappoint.
The Car Man uses the music from Bizet’s Carmen to tell a story of passion, lust and greed.
The dancers make the show their own and proved they could not only dance fantastically but act as well.
Matthew Bourne's Car Man
I was curious to see how the production would work on a smaller stage as I have only seen the company perform at London’s Saddler’s Wells theatre. And to their credit, it was excellent. My only minor complaint was the lack of live music.
In the Q and A session after the show, Matthew Bourne explained some performances did have the luxury of a live orchestra but money and space constraints meant this was not possible in every theatre. I did think this was a shame as the music is so integral to the production but this is just a minor gripe.
But back to the dancing. We forgot we were watching a “Ballet” and without a single word uttered on stage got completely drawn into the story with the way the dancers moved on stage. For me, highlights included Richard Winsor’s portrayal of hired help Angelo, who ends up wrongly accused of murder and Alan Vincent’s performance of Luca, the steely-eyed stranger who turns up in town and causes a stir.
The seamless transition from the nightclub scene to the jail scene also needs a mention. It was excellent and the pent up prisoners reminded me of the scenes in John Waters’ 1990 film Cry Baby.
If you have ever wondered about “The Ballet” but been put off by its stuffy image, please, please go and see The Car Man. You will forget where you are for a couple of hours and have all your preconceptions swept away.
last updated: 05/07/07