In 2000, choreographer Matthew Bourne turned around carmen in the car man Creating a new storyline and moving the storyline to 1950s America. The result was a danced film noir: a world of diners, neon, and wild, small-town sexual tension. For the 150th anniversary of the Royal Albert Hall, Bourne made a makeover The car man on arena scale. It’s a clever reinvention, with performances filling this massive space.
The stage is a wide platform at one end of the hall, with a long catwalk jutting out into the arena – the dirt road to this city in the middle of nowhere. The car man is Luca, a drifter who responds to a “Man Wanted” sign at Dino’s diner and then becomes involved with both Dino’s wife, Lana, and Angelo, a vulnerable young man who works at the local repair shop.
The large cast makes the city a little less one-horse carriages than it used to be in traditional theatres. Dancers slosh across the performance space, beating and flirting through boisterous numbers. Bourne’s choreography is full of observed body language, tiny moments of physical intensity registering on a grand scale. New Adventures, his own company, are natural dance performers.