Tag Archives: Paul Groothuis

REVIEW: Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Despite 15 years passing since its premiere, Matthew Bourne’s boundary pushing The Car Man is still managing to captivate, enthrall and excite audiences around the globe.


Taking as its inspiration James M. Cain’s classic novel The Postman Always Rings Twice, and set to Rodion Shchedrin’s Bolshoi Ballet version of George Bizet’s Carmen (with additional music composed by Terry Davies) The Car Man is renowned for its no holds barred portrayal of sex, violence and homoeroticism and I’m glad to report, it has lost none of its power down the years.

matthew bourne car man

It’s the early 60’s in small town Harmony, opportunistic drifter Luca (Tim Hodges) rolls into town and changes the lives of everyone he meets. First seducing Lana (Ashley Shaw) the local garage owner’s young wife, then the timid and much picked upon Angelo (Liam Mower), he incites and inspires lust and jealousy in equal measure eventually resulting in murder, miscarriage of justice and finally revenge.

car man tour matthew bourneThe sweltering heat of the setting, story line and the sensual movement pervades the auditorium. If this doesn’t leave you hot under the collar then I’m not sure what would. There is full-frontal male nudity and frank portrayals of sex throughout but it is oh so skilfully done, never gratuitous and at all times essential to the plot.

the car man matthe bourneThe pacing as well as the footwork is perfect, the story line is driven along at a blinding pace and the choreography captivating and impeccably executed throughout. It is a visual feast scenically as well as choreographically, Lez Brotherston’s inventive transforming set and its complementary lighting from Chris Davey are wonderfully evocative.

The Car Man remains a sizzling hot sensation which still excites. Matthew Bourne really can do no wrong.

REVIEW: Matthew Bourne’s Lord of the Flies -Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Regular readers of this blog will know that my love for the work of Matthew Bourne and his company New Adventures knows no bounds. But at first glance William Golding’s dystopian masterpiece Lord of the Flies doesn’t seem like material ripe for adaptation as a dance work. It is testament to the vision of New Adventures and Re:Bourne that Golding’s powerful and affecting work loses none of its ability to shock and awe.

Now back on the stage where the whole new adventure began, this emotive adaptation does full justice to Golding’s narrative: raw, visceral and genuinely moving, it is a theatrical tour de force, brilliantly accompanied by Lez Brotherston’s inventive set and Paul Groothuis eardrum pounding, primitive sound design.

The action is transferred from deserted island to deserted theatre. A group of schoolboys find themselves abandoned: with no adults around they start to make their own rules and create their own civilisation, before order breaks down with tragic consequences.

Bourne’s professional company are joined seamlessly by young talent from the Greater Glasgow area and the combination brings these legendary characters to life in electrifying fashion. Intense, ferocious and utterly spell-binding it will take you on a journey which will leave you emotionally wrung out by the end.

A Five Star Gem.