REVIEW: The Car Man, Theatre Royal, Newcastle, until May 9

SHOWER SCENE ... Matthew Bourne's The Car Man is at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle.
SHOWER SCENE ... Matthew Bourne's The Car Man is at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle.
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PREPARE to have your engines revved by this sizzling show of lust-fuelled desire and jealousy.

Perhaps the most sexually-charged of choreographer extraordinaire Matthew Bourne’s creations, it’s a tour-de-force of pulsating passion.

DANCING SHOW ... Matthew Bourne's The Car Man is at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle. Jonathan Ollivier as Luca.

DANCING SHOW ... Matthew Bourne's The Car Man is at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle. Jonathan Ollivier as Luca.

Loosely based on Bizet’s Carmen, the music is instantly recognisable but the story transports us to a new world. Not the cigarette factory of the original, but a gaudy garage and diner in 1960s America where the men are grease monkeys over-flowing with matador-esque machismo and the women are sexually-confident sirens.

Cue the entrance of a mysterious stranger, Luca, who ramps up the sensual fervour even more, a one-man aphrodisiac who sparks spiralling desire in both the guys and the girls.

Within the first ten minutes, there’s brief full frontal nudity from the mechanics who peacock around the stage with athletic swagger. But, as with all Bourne productions, it hits the right note of tasteful titillation.

Jonny Ollivier is graceful, yet powerful, as Luca and it’s utterly believable that this dangerous drifter could turn your world upside down, no matter what your sexual persuasion. Bourne’s choreography is, as always, magnetic and in the hands of this talented New Adventures troupe it shines.

DANCING SHOW ... Matthew Bourne's The Car Man is at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle.

DANCING SHOW ... Matthew Bourne's The Car Man is at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle.

There’s no dialogue, aside from the odd grunt and holler, but the dancers’ feet paint a thousand words.

Lana, the frustrated wife of the diner and garage owner played by Zizi Strallen, has the look of a West Side Story heroine as she slinks towards Luca with wanton abandon and a bubbling lust which has an explosive climax.

Luca’s other victim of vice is Angelo, a hapless hired help whose life spirals into despair. He’s played to brilliant effect by Liam Mower who perfectly conveys the change from a nerd whose homoeroticism is unlocked by Luca, to a man crushed by incarceration for a crime he didn’t commit.

The jail scenes are harrowing to watch and really display Bourne’s knack of moving an audience purely via movement.

IN LOVE ... Matthew Bourne's The Car Man is at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle. Jonathan Ollivier as Luca and Zizi Strallen as Lana.

IN LOVE ... Matthew Bourne's The Car Man is at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle. Jonathan Ollivier as Luca and Zizi Strallen as Lana.

As the small town of Harmony becomes anything but harmonious you can’t help but be hooked by these provocative purveyors of deliciously dark dance. Bravo Bourne.