The Car Man Review

Exposed checks out The Car Man at Sheffield Lyceum.

Matthew Bourne’s dance company has become something of high prestige on the UK dance scene, with international dance publications dubbing it as ‘the UK’s biggest and best dance company’. Bourne has become renowned for reinventing classic stories and telling them in their entirety through dance, recently Edward Scissorhands and Dorian Gray.

The Car Man, Bourne’s interpretation of Bizet’s Carmen, tells the story of mysterious wanderer Luca, who arrives at fictional Italian-American town Harmony. The action takes place at Dino’s Diner and garage, where Luca finds himself in danger after sleeping with his boss’ wife Lana and fellow male garage worker Angelo.

With Bourne’s reputation, it was difficult to enter the theatre without high expectations. Due to injury, the understudy’s understudy played the main role of Luca- no pressure! Tim Hodges dancing was impeccable, with beautiful contrasts of strength throughout the first act, and sensitivity and softness in the second act. Watching, you would have never known that the part wasn’t his own.

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Stand-out dancer of The Car Man was Liam Mower, who played Angelo. Angelo is bullied at the garage by other workers, and is the show’s most emotive character. The way Mower merely quivered and his shy movements expressed his characters gentle spirit perfectly. The way he expressed the characters thoughts and feelings exclusively through movement was remarkable. He clearly made an impression with the audience, attracting the biggest cheers during the bows.

Female lead Lana was played by Zizi Strallen, who falls into a lustful relationship with Luca. Alan Vincent, her doomed husband Dino, returned to the production 15 years after playing Luca when the show premiered in 2000.

From the show it was clear as to why Matthew Bourne has the legendary reputation he has. The ability to convey a story with so many elements through dance exclusively is amazing. It’s dynamic, thrilling and moving. The Car Man had scenes of comedy, tragedy and sadness, all portrayed through movement. It was exciting on the edge of your seat stuff, with thrilling bare-knuckle fights, steamy sex scenes and stampede’s of chorus numbers.

With theatre as thrilling as this, who needs dialogue?

The Car Man is at The Lyceum until June 27. For more information head here.

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