The Car Man

Royal Albert Hall
Kensington Gore, London

Opens: 9 June 2022
Closes: 19 June 2022

Buy tickets:

Nearest Tube: South Kensington (allow for walk)

Royal Albert Hall street Map

Show times
Thu 9 June at 7.30pm
Fri 10 June at 7.30pm
Sat 11 June at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sun 12 June at 2.30pm and 7.30pm

Mon 13 June no performances
Tue 14 June at 7.30pm
Wed 15 June at 7.30pm
Thu 16 June at 7.30pm
Fri 17 June at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sat 18 June at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sun 19 June at 2.30pm

Runs ? hours and ? minutes

Seat prices
? to ?
(plus booking fees if applicable)

Matthew Bourne's The Car Man

A major revival of Matthew Bourne's The Car Man in London

An Auto-Erotic Thriller. The Car Man is loosely based on Bizet's popular opera Carmen as re-imagined by the award-winning choreographer Matthew Bourne. The familiar 19th Century Spanish cigarette factory now becomes a greasy garage-diner in 1960s America, where the dreams and passions of a small-town are shattered by the arrival of a handsome stranger, Luca, 'the car man'. Fuelled by heat and desire, the inhabitants are driven into an unstoppable spiral of greed, lust, betrayal and revenge.

NOTE: This production was originally scheduled to play at London's Royal ALbert Hall from 17 to 27 June 2021 but unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 situation, it has been postponed by one year and will now play from 9 to 19 June 2022.

Dance devised by Matthew Bourne, with music by Terry Davies, adapted from Rodion Shchedrin's Carmen Suite and Georges Bizet.

Please Note: Age Guidance 12+.

Directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, with designs by Lez Brotherston, lighting by Chris Davey, and sound by Paul Groothuis.

Matthew Bourne is perhaps best known for his award-winning interpretation of Tchaikovsky's classic ballet Swan Lake which features a full corp de ballet of male swans. His other full length ballets include adaptations of Tim Burton's motion picture Edward Scissorhands; Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray; Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker; Prokofiev's Cinderella; Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's The Red Shoes; and Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty. Matthew Bourne has also provided choreography for the stage musical versions of Sam Mendes/Rupert Goold revival of Lionel Bart's Oliver!, Trevor Nunn's revival of the Lerner and Loewe musical My Fair Lady and Richard Eyre's stage version of Walt Disney motion picture Mary Poppins.

Matthew Bourne's The Car Man in London at the Royal Albert Hall opens on 9 June 2022, and closes on 19 June 2022


2000: West End London Premiere at the Old Vic Theatre

2007: London Revival at Sadler's Wells Theatre

2015: London Revival at Sadler's Wells Theatre


2000: West End London Premiere at the Old Vic Theatre

Previewed 4 September 2000, Opened 13 September 2000, Closed 13 January 2001 at the Old Vic Theatre

The West End Premiere of Matthew Bourne's The Car Man in London

The cast featured Alan Vincent / Ben Hartley / Will Kemp / Ewan Wardrop as 'Luca', Scott Ambler / Neil Penlington as 'Dino Alfano', Saranne Curtin / Vicky Evans / Michela Meazza as 'Lana', Etta Murfitt / Heather Habens / Emily Piercy as 'Rita', and Will Kemp / Arthur Pita / Ewan Wardrop as 'Angelo'.

Directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, with designs by Lez Brotherston, lighting by Chris Davey, and sound by Matt McKenzie.

"Lez Brotherston's design for the piece, with its car repair shop and sleazy diner, is the show's strongest asset, and looks terrific once the house lights go down. Too bad that this evocation of reality is not matched in the choreography, which never makes any progress on the population's supposed activities other than gang-bangs and fist-fights. The other big hit with the highly enthusiastic audience is the music. The familiar tunes from Bizet's opera Carmen are here presented in a considerably expanded arrangement by Terry Davies... It's played by a small orchestra that plays with enthusiasm under the musical director Brett Morris. Enthusiasm is the best attribute of the cast, too. Character development is not a feature: only the victim, Angelo, shows more than one side of his nature, starting as a wimp and returning for revenge... The supporting cast throw themselves without stint into their violent exercises." The Independent

"The latest work from director Matthew Bourne and his dancers, is a dark, psychological thriller that is funny, tense, lively and bold. It is loaded with theatrical flair, audacious twists and dangerous emotional clashes... The sassy dancing, glamorous characters and urgent couplings of astonishing grace add up to awesome theatre seldom seen in dance... The storytelling is clear, bold and ground-breaking with erudite cinematic references that include Hitchcockian suspense, flashbacks, hallucinations, film noir claustrophobia and a daredevil, James Dean-style car chase... There is life, energy and detail in the gestures and humour for which the company is famous. The movement is big, square and hip-thrustingly tantalising. Bourne is skilled at making each moment memorable... The leads are superb in a strong company of actor-dancers." The London Evening Standard

The Car Man in London at the Old Vic Theatre previewed from 4 September 2000, opened on 13 September 2000 and closed on 13 January 2001


2007: London Revival at Sadler's Wells Theatre

Previewed 10 July 2007, Opened 11 July 2007, Closed 5 August 2007 at Sadler's Wells Theatre

A major revival of Matthew Bourne's The Car Man in London for a strictly limited summer season

The cast featured Alan Vincent / Adam Galbraith / James Leece as 'Luca', Scott Ambler as 'Dino', Michela Meazza / Ebony Molina / Gemma Payne as 'Lana', Hannah Vassallo / Kerry Biggin / Shelby Williams as 'Rita', and Sam Archer / Richard Winsor as 'Angelo'.

Directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, with designs by Lez Brotherston, lighting by Chris Davey, and sound by Matt McKenzie.

"Despite its dark tangle of sex, betrayal and violent death, Matthew Bourne's The Car Man remains a strangely contrived and unemotional affair... Lez Brotherston's atmospheric if slightly hyperactive set still looks well. The garage, the nightclub and the prison are conjured with a few key sets which swing in and out of view, allowing Bourne to cut cinematically from one scene to the next with a minimum of fuss... Bourne's deft direction tells the tale with clarity; but although we know what is happening we seldom care why, and the big emotional gear shifts are always sold slightly short. Bizet's score, even in Terry Davies's remix of Rodion Shchedrin's Carmen Suite, is too highly charged for incidental music so that key moments seem to be played for laughs." The Sunday Telegraph

"Drifter Luca rolls up and takes a job at a garage run by old Dino and his luscious young wife, Lana. What's the problem with the cute blond kid, Angelo, and why doesn't he respond to the amorous advances of Lana's pretty sister Rita?... Matthew Bourne may not cut much ice as a serious choreographer - the dance he devises is rough-and-ready West End stuff without much originality - but he is a skilful showman and storyteller, and certainly makes this sleazy scenario work as gripping wordless theatre... and with Lez Brotherston's designs providing a brilliant evocation of the B-picture milieu, it packs a strong punch... The Car Man may not be Bourne at his best but as brash, vivid, testosterone-charged entertainment, it hits the spot." The Mail on Sunday

The Car Man in London at Sadler's Wells Theatre previewed from 10 July 2007, opened on 11 July 2007, and closed on 5 August 2007


2015: London Revival at Sadler's Wells Theatre

Previewed 14 July 2015, Opened 17 July 2015, Closed 8 August 2015 at Sadler's Wells Theatre

A major revival of Matthew Bourne's The Car Man in London for a strictly limited season

The cast featured Jonathan Ollivier / Chris Trenfield as 'Luca', Alan Vincent as 'Dino Alfano', Ashley Shaw / Zizi Strallen as 'Lana', Katy Lowenhoff / Kate Lyons as 'Rita', and Liam Mower / Dominic North as 'Angelo'.

Directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, with designs by Lez Brotherston, lighting by Chris Davey, and sound by Paul Groothius.

Jonathan Ollivier: The final evening performance on Sunday 9 August at 7.30pm was cancelled due to the death in a road traffic accident earlier in the day of the dancer Jonathan Ollivier who was due to play the lead role of 'Luca' at this performance. The Metropolitan Police released the following statement: "Police were called at 11:11 hrs on Sunday, 9 August, to Farringdon Road, EC1, following reports of a black Mercedes saloon in collision with motorcycle. Officers, London Ambulance Service and London's Air Ambulance attended. The 38-year-old male rider of the motorcycle was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:53 hrs. The driver who stopped at the scene was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and is currently in custody at a central London police station."

When this revival opened in July 2015, Lyndsey Winship in the London Evening Standard praised it as being "one of Matthew Bourne's best shows, a steamy melodrama that's just right for sultry summer nights." Rachel Ward in the Daily Telegraph thought that "nobody does it better than Matthew Bourne. His reimagining of Bizet's classical opera Carmen is a joyride of sweat, seduction and murder... the dance show is a peerless spectacle - and oh boy, does Matthew Bourne know how to thrill an audience... A masterful piece of storytelling. Coupled with Lez Brotherston's dynamic set design, it's unforgettable." Zoe Anderson in the Independent described how "it's the moments of quiet that ground this pulp noir story... this terrific revival is lit up by warm, spontaneous performances." Debra Craine in the Times highlighted that "Matthew Bourne describes it as a reimagining of Carmen and indeed you can rejoice in the iconic Bizet melodies woven into Terry Davies's atmospheric score... The fine dancers of Bourne's New Adventures troupe are also fantastic actors." Louise Levene in the Financial Times said that this "2000 production is ageing well," explaining that "successive revivals (and revisions) have sharpened and deepened the playing. The fight scenes are sickeningly realistic and while the rutting, thigh-slapping ensembles remain banal and repetitive, they are delivered with plenty of fizz and energy."

The Car Man in London at Sadler's Wells Theatre previewed from 14 July 2015, opened on 17 July 2015, and closed on 8 August 2015