The first major revival of The Car Man, director-choreographer Matthew Bourne’s 2000 dance thriller based on Bizet’s popular opera, will embark on an 18-week tour of the UK, launching on 18 June 2007 from the Theatre Royal Plymouth before visiting 14 further venues.

Over the summer, the new production will spend four weeks – from 9 July to 4 August 2007 - at London’s Sadler’s Wells, where Bourne’s New Adventures was last year appointed a resident company (See News, 23 Oct 2006), cementing a long association with the venue. July also marks 20 years of “Adventures” for Bourne. His first company, Adventures in Motion Pictures (AMP) - which he ran with producer Katharine Dore and which created much-lauded works including the original mountings of his Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Cinderella, The Car Man and others - was formed in 1986 but had its first performance in July 1987 at London’s Laban Centre.

In The Car Man, the 19th-century Spanish cigarette factory becomes a greasy garage diner in 1960s America where the dreams and passions of a small Italian-American community are shattered by the arrival of a handsome stranger. Fuelled by heat and desire, the inhabitants are driven into an unstoppable spiral of greed, lust, betrayal and revenge.

First mounted at the Old Vic in September 2000, The Car Man won the Evening Standard award for Musical Event of the Year and, on its international travels, the Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for Best Choreography. Directed and choreographed by Bourne, it’s designed by Lez Brotherston, with lighting by Chris Davey and sound by Paul Groothuis. It has music care of Terry Davies and Rodion Shchedrin’s Carmen Suite (after Bizet’s Carmen).

For the new production, Alan Vincent will reprise his performance in title role of Luca, alternating with James Leece and Adam Galbraith, opposite Gemma Payne, Ebony Molina and original cast member Michela Meazza sharing the role of Lana, and Kerry Biggin, Hannah Vassallo and original cast member Shelby Williams sharing the role of Rita. Richard Winsor and Sam Archer, who shared the title role in Bourne’s 2005 staging of Edward Scissorhands, both play Angelo.

In addition to Sadler’s Wells, following Plymouth, The Car Man continues to Cardiff, Nottingham, Milton Keynes, Glasgow, Bradford, Wimbledon, Stoke, Newcastle, Woking, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Salford and Birmingham.

In August 2001, Bourne announced his solo outfit, New Adventures, which in addition to new airings for Swan Lake and Nutcracker! to date, has premiered Bourne's Edward Scissorhands and his double Olivier Award-winning Play Without Words. Independent of his dance company, Bourne has found award-winning success choreographing musicals including Children of Eden, Oliver!, My Fair Lady, South Pacific and, currently in the West End and opening on Broadway next month, Mary Poppins (which he also co-directed with Richard Eyre).

Bourne’s relationship with Sadler’s Wells dates back to 1992 when he presented the London premiere of Nutcracker! there. He followed that with premieres of Highland Fling (1994) and Swan Lake (1995). New Adventures has had its office base at the theatre since 2002, while Bourne was appointed an associated artist of Sadler’s Wells last year. Currently employing 70 dancers, New Adventures is the second company residing at Sadler’s Wells; it joins Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance Company there.

- by Terri Paddock