The Car Man (2000): Matthew Bourne

Bourne: The Car Man

★★★★

(Sadler’s Wells, 19 July 2015)

When I went to see Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty two years ago, I wrote about the frustration that I often feel when trying to understand classical ballet, and my corresponding fondness for Bourne’s irreverently gutsy style of storytelling. My favourite production by him will always be Swan Lake (the Adam Cooper version), but my first encounter with him was via a TV broadcast of The Car Man when I was a teenager.

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Sleeping Beauty (2012): Matthew Bourne

Sleeping Beauty: Matthew Bourne

★★★★½

(Sadler’s Wells, London, until 26 January 2013)

Generally speaking I find ballet to be a foreign country: I can appreciate its beauty but I simply don’t speak the language needed to feel entirely at home there. I can appreciate the sweeping vistas of tulle and the exaggerated gestures, but when I was younger they only emphasised the strangeness of this art form, which was clearly something for an initiated elite – of which I was not a member.

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