Matthew Bourne’s multi-award winning autoerotic dance thriller, created by Les Brotherston and premiered in 2000, is being reimagined for the Royal Albert Hall, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary a year later due to Covid.
Bourne uses Bizet’s music; But he got rid of Prosper Merimée’s cigarette girls, soldiers, bullfighters and bullfighters to create a garish film noir melodrama set in 1960s America and loosely based on James M. Cain When the postman rings twice.
Britain’s most popular and successful choreographer loves old films. The staging, loud, cheeky, rough and homoerotic, has a raw physicality. There’s nudity in the showers, bare knuckle fights in the street, and plenty of sex.
The drama takes a little too long to get started, but once it does, the show has a strong plot that is unabashedly melodramatic. Terry Davies uses Rodion Shchedrin’s Carmen Suite and re-orchestrate Bizet’s music to produce a very evocative cinematic score.
Luca (Will Bozier) moves to a small Midwestern town and finds a job as an auto mechanic at a diner run by Dino (Alan Vincent). He has sex with Dino’s young wife Lana (Zizi Strallen). He also seduces Angelo (Paris Fitzpatrick), a hired hand, a sensitive boy who is being bullied by the community. Luca and Lana kill Dino and then frame Angelo, who goes to jail where he kills the warden who was trying to annoy him. He escapes to come back and get revenge.
There are 65 dancers and musicians, three times more than the original troupe in 2000, but the performance still isn’t big enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall. The actual stage is too far away and more use should have been made of the transversal stage that protrudes from it into the auditorium and can bring the dancers closer to the audience.
Act fast. Matthew Bournes The car man closes on Sunday 19 June.
Robert Tanitch reviews Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man at the Royal Albert Hall, London
Source link Robert Tanitch reviews Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man at the Royal Albert Hall, London