This 1960s Car Man is sizzling stuff, says Zizi

Jonathan Olivier as Luca and Zizi Strallen as Lana in Matthew Bourne's The Car Man at  Sheffield Lyceum Theatre.
Jonathan Olivier as Luca and Zizi Strallen as Lana in Matthew Bourne's The Car Man at Sheffield Lyceum Theatre.

There’s plenty of lust and drama in exciting dance show The Car Man in Sheffield next week but it’s not a faithful retelling of Bizet’s opera.

The action is transported from the familiar 19th-century Spanish cigarette factory to 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.

Fuelled by heat and desire, the inhabitants are driven into an unstoppable spiral of greed, lust, betrayal and revenge.

Zizi Strallen plays Lana in the show. She said: “It’s not 
really like Carmen.

“The main similarity is that it uses some of the recognisable and beautiful music from Carmen.”

The show has been created by Matthew Bourne and his New Adventures company, renowned for creating exciting dance dramas with an original twist, including an all-male version of Swan Lake.

The Car Man was inspired by film noir cinema and the pulp fiction novels of James M Cain and Raymond Chandler.

Lara is the young wife of mechanic Dino, who owns the garage and diner.

Their lives are blown apart by the arrival of a young outsider, Luca, who gets a job at the garage.

Zizi said: “He ends up having two love affairs with Dino and Lana. You don’t really know where his sexuality lies.

“There’s a lot of lust and a lot of violence. It’s quite gritty and one of Matthew Bourne’s more sexy and gritty shows.

It all blows up with murders and fights. It’s very dramatic.”

Zizi has a musical theatre background and has had to get used to creating a drama purely through dance.

She has recently starred in a big production of Cats at the London Palladium and joked: “It’s a relief to be playing a human rather than a cat!”

Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man is at the Lyceum from next Tuesday to Saturday.