I didn’t know what to expect on entering the darkened theatre. The Car Man, or 'Carmen' as I’d mistakenly read it as the previous evening, is Matthew Bourne’s story of “Bizet’s Carmen re-imagined.”
Bourne’s imagination then is superb, like most of his productions the power of dance and movement encapsulates the audience, with your eyes not wanting to wander away from the stage for a second.
The Car Man tells the story of a small American town called Harmony, set in the early 1960’s. The mood is apparent from the start, scorching hot nights fuel the lust and passion of the mechanics and their girlfriends and especially Lana the wife of the garage owner (Dino), when Luca arrives in town.
The majority of the action takes place in or outside the garage and diner and as the lights go up attention is drawn to the sign CAR MAN WANTED. The arrival of Luca (now, car man) begins a chain of events resulting in murder and revenge. Falling instantly for each other Luca and Lana begin an affair behind the closed doors of the garage whilst Dino is away.
Luca is the stereotypical mid-western American man, rugged, smug and oozing sex. Although falling for Lana, this doesn’t stop him “having it away” with Angelo, the young mechanic he’s taken under his wing to stop the bullying he endures from the rest of the mechanics.
Angelo, young, innocent and the object of Rita’s (Dino’s sister) affections finds himself confused but smitten by Luca, much to his own detriment.
Sex is highly prevalent within the story, one scene is literally like an orgy and shock was evident from the whispers in the audience, in particular the lady behind me “Ooh I say.” However, the intimate movements of each couple were so beautiful to watch my own initial shock subsided quickly.
Terry Davies’ arrangement of the music was phenomenal, signature Carmen playing throughout and in spite of being set in an American town there is a very European feeling to the production. It felt at one point like I was watching a European film with The Car Man sounding like an English translation of a French or a Spanish film.
The cast were outstanding and, although I didn’t physically rise myself, deserved the standing ovation offered by many of the audience. They didn’t stop from start to finish covering the whole stage with fluid movement and energy.
The Car Man is certainly worth the petrol. Fantastic choreography, inspired music, beautiful women hot men, and sex, sex sex, what more can you want from an evening out.
Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man plays at Nottingham's Theatre Royal from Tuesday 3rd to Saturday 7th July.
Matthew Bourne's website