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Subject: "THE CAR MEN review" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #1790
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Netallica

19-06-01, 07:24 AM (GMT)
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"THE CAR MEN review"
 
   The Car Men
choreography: Matthew Bourne
Design (of almost everything): Lez Brotherston
Date: Monday, 18/6/01

When I first read the flattering reviews about The Car Men I didn't know what to think: On one hand, I had no expectations- the story sounded a little bit shallow to me, but on the other hand- It's Matthew Bourne, isn't it? I must be at least interesting to watch.

Nevermind the illegaly high price of the ticket---I thought it would be worth it. The show began, and I didn't understand ANYTHING. I knew what it was about, but I didn't understand for a second what was going on on stage. Basically, it was about a stranger coming to a small town called Harmony. He starts working at the local garage and all the men & women go crazy.
That's the basic story line, but what I saw on stage was a bunch of guys and girls roll on the ground, making out in the street (???), on cars, on tables, beating up each other every 5 minutes and so on.

The main problems of The Car Men, in my opinion, are:

1. There are too many characters. Everyone in Harmony is the main character, and you don't know who's important to the story and who's not. I mean, too many characters make the story blurry and unclear, because you don't know what is the story line you should follow. There are many little stories inside and minor events, because of the number of characters, and you can lose the story-line easily.

2. All the characters are flat and shallow, including the garage-man, because there are too many of them. When there's a small number of characters, each one is complicated, each character has it's own identity, but in The Car Men you don't understand the characters at all and you can't even guess why they do the things they do. You have no idea what drives them, why are they killing each other and who's who. it's like that: "Why did he beat up that guy? He kissed him in the first act!" "I think it's because they're fighting over one of the girls." "which one?" "I don't know, maybe she's the fat guy's wife." "Then why did she sleep with the guy with the Allstars?" "hmmm, that's a good question" etc.

3. The show is built like a puzzle: many irrelative pieces. for example, one of the guys (which one???) was sent to prison. a few minutes later the people of the town to see a cabaret. ok... after some time, of maybe before, two cars crush on stage, just like that, and no one knows about it after it happens... and every two minutes there's a small Pas de Deux, nobody knows why, and everything is so confusing! the puzzle pattern of the show doesn't help you follow the story and also the bizarre characters, who fight with no reason and have sex in the street!

4. The lack of idea. I mean, the main idea of The Car Men is interesting, but it wasn't developed enough: apperantly Matthew Bourne wanted to develope the design more than the idea of this show, that's why in other shows you might think: "Oh poor guy.... I understand him... look at his mother, for god sake! Isn't Emily Piercy amusing? Poor prince, that #^&%$&$!&^ bold man decieved him... oh...." (or not... well, that's what me & my friends thought, for example, when we saw Swan Lake)but in The Car Men you think: "What? wasn't he dead a few seconds ago?" etc. What I want to say is, in the other works of Bourne there's a moral, or something to think about. in The Car Men your brain is stuck somewhere in the beginning, as someone's wife (?) makes out with the Garage-man, where you lose the story.

I can't say how depressed and upset I was after watching The Car Men. I knew the plot was shallow before I watched it, but I thought: well, you can never know for sure before you see it. I mean, the Swan Lake story sounded strange too, but it had a story... IT WAS UNDERSTANDABLE. But I deeply regret I've ever seen it, frankly.

Anyway, that's only what I think. Just wanted to share my feeling with you guys.

Best regards,
Netallica


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: THE CAR MEN review MATTHEW BOURNE 19-06-01 1
     RE: THE CAR MEN review nikki 19-06-01 2
     RE: THE CAR MEN review PJK 19-06-01 3
     RE: THE CAR MEN review Jane N. 19-06-01 4
     RE: THE CAR MEN review Netallica 20-06-01 6
  RE: THE CAR MEN review alison 20-06-01 5
     RE: THE CAR MEN review MATTHEW BOURNE 20-06-01 7
         RE: THE CAR MEN review Hiroko 21-06-01 8
             RE: THE CAR MEN review Carly Gillies 21-06-01 9
         RE: THE CAR MEN review Mwf 09-09-01 10
             RE: THE CAR MEN review Bruce Madmin 09-09-01 11
             RE: THE CAR MEN review Jane N. 11-09-01 12
                 RE: The Car Men in LA Brendan 18-09-01 13
                     RE: The Car Men in LA Pete 18-09-01 14
                         RE: The Car Men in LA sylvia 18-09-01 15
                             RE: The Car Men in LA lara 18-09-01 16
                             RE: The Car Men in LA lara 24-09-01 17

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MATTHEW BOURNE

19-06-01, 03:52 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: THE CAR MEN review"
In response to message #0
 
   Oh dear , Netallica, you were a bit confused ,were you not!. I suppose that you need to apply a bit of imagination and concentration to enjoy any dance performance, I think. However,as a general guide, the leading characters are the ones in the spotlights, who dance all the solo's and duets and genarally tell you the central story.I hope this helps in the future!
My 11 year old neice ,Katie, had no problem following the plot and neither, I hazard to guess, have the many thousands of people who have seen the 270 performances of THE CAR MAN at home and around Europe. I do however, listen to audiences, in the early days of a production to see what they've understood, but at this stage,over a year later, I think that the vast majority of our audiences do not have a problem.
So 'perhaps Netallica,you should stick to the classics. Though , I challenge anyone to know what is going on in most classical ballets (such as Swan Lake,Beauty, La Bayadere etc.) without programme notes or prior knowledge of the story.
I'm truly sorry ,if you had a dissapointing evening, However, I'm proud of the show and my company ,who are currently wowing 2000 people per night over 17 performances in Isreal.


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nikki

19-06-01, 06:26 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: THE CAR MEN review"
In response to message #1
 
   I brought a friend to the car men preformance(with some hesitation on her part), who did not appreciate dance unless it was atleast 100years old. But she completely enjoyed it, to my and her surprise.


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PJK

19-06-01, 09:53 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: THE CAR MEN review"
In response to message #1
 
   Matthew you have every right to be proud of the show and your company.Although I have seen The Car Man several times, it was very clear to both my husband and myself exactly what was happening from the very first time we saw it. I had been lucky enough to attend a rehearsal prior to the show's opening in Plymouth last year, but because what I saw was a fairly short excerpt out of context, this did not really give me an unfair advantage - the storyline is very clear, and in my opinion the easiest to understand of all the AMP productions I've seen. It may not have the capability to be understood and enjoyed on so many different levels as your outstanding Swan Lake, but I found it to be well worth seeing and as exciting at the last performance I attended in London as in the first week of its regional tour.

You mention your young niece - I, on the other hand, took my 80-year old mother to The Car Man and she not only understood the plot but thoroughly enjoyed the experience!


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Jane N.

19-06-01, 10:57 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: THE CAR MEN review"
In response to message #1
 
   I agree with PJK completely. Matthew, you have every right to feel proud of The Car Man. I also went to the same rehearsal PJK went to, but apart from thinking "oh this is the bit I saw in it's early stages", it didn't increase my ability to follow the story. Over the months of touring and it's run at the Old Vic, I took many friends (and my ten-year-old son on one occasion) to see The Car Man, and no-one had trouble in following what was going on, or who the various characters were. A leading member of AMP once said to me and my friends "if you can't follow the story then we're not doing our job properly". Well in my humble opinion, the company have certainly done their job and more, and I'm delighted to hear that things are going so well for you all in Tel Aviv.


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Netallica

20-06-01, 10:05 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: THE CAR MEN review"
In response to message #1
 
   Yo yo, wuss'up.
Well, yeah, I know, everyone's going to say they went to The Car Men with their 2 years old brother and he understood everything which means of course that I'm extremely stupid, right, but---

1. I know the main characters are the ones in the spotlights, but dude, almost everyone on stage enjoyed a solo & a spotlight

2. Dear dude, you don't know me and my imagination... maybe I'm not as sharp as the other people in the forum but imagination is something completely different, you know, and while watching The Car Men- I tried to figure out what happens on stage and made up thousands of sick theories to explain what I see and non of them helped, but what do I know, you're the choreographer.

3. One thing can be said about The Car Men- it's not boring. I didn't say it was boring because it was, no matter what, beautiful to watch. Then why should I try the classics...? I don't want to die aged 14 of fatal BOREDOM...
(sorry for the classics-lovers, but I tried them and... well, Matthew, you're still numero Uno, even with The Car Men)

4. In Israel, the first rule of ballet is:
- Who cares about the plot as long as the critics define it "Erotic"?
I'm ashamed to admit that, but still- I know my people... (talked with some of them after the show, of course. btw, they didn't understand it more than I did).

5. Basically, I don't care if I'm the only idiot in the world, who didn't understand The Car Men. But let me put it that way:
I've seen Swan Lake a year ago, I hated classical Ballet then, and it had changed me entirely- I became a different person, better one- I believe (which means I used to be worse than today!! wow...!), and above all- it had given me the inspiration I needed. No kidding, It was like being smacked in the face, and the consequences were good. And then I went to see The Car Men, and my inspiration died, my brain got dried, I don't feel like creating something anymore, I'm depressed and down and bitter and I TRIED so hard to enjoy it... and even though The Car Men definitely has a lot of pluses, they didn't effect me unfortunately, and now I'm stuck with the negative thoughts.

Maybe it's just me, no, wait, PROBABLY it's just me, but drying my source of inspiration WAS cruel! and, of course, the money, but that's another story and is boring so I'll leave that.

*** not understanding the story is one problem, and I can live with that. But, I swear, I haven't seen such a shallow creation in a long time! that's nice, focusing on one complaint to show my stupidity, but what about the idea of this ballet? The spirit? the hidden massage? THE THOUGHTS...? I'd like to know that...!

Netallica


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alison

20-06-01, 12:51 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: THE CAR MEN review"
In response to message #0
 
   I don't remember having much of a problem with the storyline either, although I did think the cabaret scene was a bit of a distraction.


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MATTHEW BOURNE

20-06-01, 11:41 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: THE CAR MEN review"
In response to message #5
 
   Dear Netallica,
I don't know how to respond to your last posting as I barely understand a word you say....Maybe we're on different planets? However ,i can say for certain that only the leading characters are in a spotlight AND other solos or duets are quite clearly part of GROUP dances. I'm again sorry that you were so crushed by the event and hope that my next offering is more to your liking,after all , I'm only there to please the audience and I don't like upsetting anyone,especially if they have parted with theier hard earnt money! ALL THE BEST Matthew


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Hiroko

21-06-01, 00:59 AM (GMT)
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8. "RE: THE CAR MEN review"
In response to message #7
 
   That is exactly what I felt, Netallica must be from another plante, when I read her review of CAR MEN. Although, I have never seen Mr. Bourne's project on stage yet, I was so very much impressed by his "Swan Lake" on a video. As far as I am concenred the "Swan Lake" is a condensed chart of a human life. It containes all the emotion that we, human has to go through in our lives. And I also read his book which was a quite eye oping to me in the field of Dance as I was not familier to the world of Dance and I sill am not. I learned a lot about the "Swan Lake" and a concept of his projects by reading his book which I enjoyed it tremendously. Now, I am more curious to see the CAR MEN in September and I already purchased the tickets. I can hardly wait. I believe that I will not be disappointed based on all other good reviews posted in this thread.


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Carly Gillies

21-06-01, 04:40 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: THE CAR MEN review"
In response to message #8
 
   Nettalica. I do have some sympathies for your views. I think you're suffering from expecting another Swan Lake, and the inevitable disappointment of discovering that Car Man isn't. What you need to understand, particularly if you're quite new to seeing dance, is that although (in my opinion) The Car Man was very good, Swan Lake was exceptional.
It's the price Matthew Bourne has to pay for creating a masterpiece relatively early in his career - EVERYTHING subsequently will draw comparisons, even when very different.( metaphors involving swans and albatrosses are currently just eluding me )
Don't give up though. If you find the classics boring - and I have to confess that Nutcracker bores me to death - try more modern dance. Not sure whether Rambert or NDT visit your part of the world but give them or others a try.
And give Car Man another chance when the film comes out. It sounds as if it's going to be more than simply a film of the stage show.


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Mwf

09-09-01, 07:24 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: THE CAR MEN review"
In response to message #7
 
   Hello

The Car Men is finally making its way to Los Angeles, and I do like to read reviews prior to going, not to sway me from not going, but to see if 'real people' (not those paid to influence)have any thoughts.....

Matthew, just for the record, I'd never been to the ballet prior to having seen your interpretation of Swan Lake. It was an incredible experience, and it didn't really matter to me if there was a storyline. It was an unforgettable visual, and I've been waiting to see your next presentation, though I missed Cinderella.

I'm looking forward to The Car Men, and I am sure it is every bit as 'original' as Swan Lake was. Keep up the good work.

Have you considered a new take on the Nutcracker?

mwf


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Bruce Madmin

09-09-01, 08:06 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: THE CAR MEN review"
In response to message #10
 
  
I'm pleased to say we have links to about 13 reviews of The Car Man. This link brings them all up:
http://www.ballet.co.uk/cgi/reviews_database_search/db_search.cgi?production=Car%20Man

Renee Renouf will be reviewing the show for us but I do hope you, and other readers, are able to drop back and give us your thoughts on the show as well - we'd love to add to our list of reviews and fresh thoughts are always nice to see.


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Jane N.

11-09-01, 12:10 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: THE CAR MEN review"
In response to message #10
 
   >Have you considered a new take
>on the Nutcracker?
>
>mwf

Just to let you know that Matthew has already done his own version of Nutcracker, and hopefully it will be revived in the not too distant future.


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Brendan

18-09-01, 10:37 AM (GMT)
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13. "RE: The Car Men in LA"
In response to message #12
 
   If you've been following Matthew Bourne's tour of California, you may be interested in a project by Lara, who's a good friend of ballet.co. She has been making a photo-journal of the Los Angeles performances and her images and interviews can be found at
http://www.criticaldance.com/amp-la2001/index.html. If you have any questions for Lara, she is very happy to answer them here on ballet.co.

Lara is an accomplished photgrapher who has her own website
http://www.digitalstoryteller.com/BTV00/hartley/index.shtml. Another recent example of her work is a photjournal of a visit to Mexico last year with a group of doctors performing plastic surgery on children with cleft palates and lips.
http://www.operationrainbow.org/missions/2000/mexico/index.htm

Lewis Segal of the Los Angeles Times has written about Car Men in the paper's most recent online edition. "Whether he's evoking the heat, insects and lust of a night when nothing is happening or the surreal frenzy of social dances that barely contain the characters' primal urges, this is daring, accomplished, uncompromisingly lurid movement theater. Moreover, his addiction to trailer trash seems to be shared by designer Lez Brotherston, who elevates ugly clutter into an all-American aesthetic with his rising/falling/rotating scenic panels that manage to provide a billboard illusion of freedom but keep everyone caged in".
http://www.calendarlive.com/top/1,1419,L-LATimes-Theater-X!ArticleDetail-43175,00.html


One wonders if this will be the last hurrah for Bourne's former production company, Adventures in Motion Pictures. The present tour of the United States is Bourne's final venture in conjunction with Katherine Dore, who manages AMP. But all Bourne's future productions will be under the aegis of a different company, New Adventures. For more details see our previous posting http://www.danze.co.uk/dcforum/news/977.html


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Pete

18-09-01, 01:33 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: The Car Men in LA"
In response to message #13
 
   Thanks for the links Brendan.
For those of you who have never seen Lara's incredible photography before, check out the links. Awesome!


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sylvia

18-09-01, 04:22 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: The Car Men in LA"
In response to message #14
 
   Congratulations Lara for such a superb exhibition for all us dance fans. I admit to a morbid fascination with anything behind the scenes, and this is a fun and rare opportunity to see a little of what goes on backstage in AMP.


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lara

18-09-01, 04:34 PM (GMT)
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16. "RE: The Car Men in LA"
In response to message #15
 
   >>I admit to a morbid fascination with anything behind the scenes<<

Me too! And once you can connect the stage work with the people behind it, it becomes even more fascinating.

thanks Pete for all the kudos!

lara


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lara

24-09-01, 05:02 AM (GMT)
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17. "RE: The Car Men in LA"
In response to message #16
 
   We have added many more pictures and interviews in this last week in case anyone is interested in seeing more; including shots of Matthew Bourne rehearsing dancers and guys putting on makeup PLUS an interview with Scott Ambler. http://www.criticaldance.com/amp-la2001/index.html

And we are waiting with bated breath for Ed's interview with Will Kemp.

I loved this show and meeting Matthew Bourne was like meeting a hero. I know that sounds a bit grand, but it was really like that. I think the man is a genius!!!

Will is not to be missed if one has the opportunity to see him dance. I hope to get back and see him perform the part of Luca the Hunk before the show leaves LA. Photographing Will and the company during rehearsal was an honour. And even in the rehearsal studio his acting moved me to tears.

One reveiwer called him the dancer/actor of his generation. I think this was not pure hyperbole but an accurate evaluation of a great talent.

Bourne seems to have a real knack of picking performers with extraordinary acting skills combined with powerful dance, the most obivous being Adam Cooper and now Will has matured into that kind of charmismatic performer too.


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