The Car Man by Matthew Bourne at The Bristol Hippodrome Review

THE CARMAN by Bourne,          , Choreography and Direction - Mathew Bourne, Music- Bizet, Designs - Lez Brotherston, Churchill Theatre, Bromley, London, UK, 2015, Credit - Johan Persson/


Our Verdict:  Bloody Marvellous
Rating: 10/10

Shows flash through the Bristol Hippodrome diary in the blink of an eye. But the annual gem in the calendar that is always essential booking is Bourne Ballet.

After successive years of New Adventures bringing Bristol Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake, this year the barren Hippodrome stage is transformed into a hot hazy Italian American community with clever sets and smouldering lighting.

The Car Man is a real dance thriller. The gritty storyline takes elements of novel and movies The Postman Always Rings Twice and set to the Shchedrin arrangement of Bizet’s Carmen.

Possibly Bourne is the only choreographer or creative who could encompass such themes as domestic violence, male rape, jealousy, murder and dangerous passion successfully alongside the lighter moments of humour, parody and friendship and succeed.

He creates ballets that not only entertain, but challenges and even speaks to people.

There are lovely moments of cinematic conventions, such as the switch from cabaret club to prison. Then the use of flash back in a prison scene.

Despite being some 15 years old already, the production remains fresh and alive and keeps the audience at times holding their breath whilst perched on the edge of their seat.

As usual, the New Adventures cast is fantastic and there are no small parts.

Alan Vincent, the original Luca returns to this revival, gravitating this time to the role of Dino Alfano. This is a part that is all about the acting and Vincent is simply stunning as the gross and abusive garage owner.

Chris Trenfield as the sinister stranger Luca and Zizi Strallen as the bored and sultry housewife Lana, are an electric pairing.

But that’s not to forget Dominic North’s wonderful vulnerable victim performance in the challenging role of Angelo.

The amount of blood used by the end of the show in violent scenes must make Wardrobe cry every night.

So, it’s worth bearing in mind that with moments of male nudity and some adult themes, the ballet is recommended for an audience of 12 years and over.

The Car Man is at The Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday 23 May 2015