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Totally bonkers brief encounters with Bourne

Matthew Bourne's Early Adventures, Warwick Arts Centre, February 16 - 18

Celebrating the New Adventures Company’s thirty-year anniversary, Matthew Bourne has returned to three works that launched his career.

As Bourne says in his own words, these works “are very close to my heart”, if “totally bonkers”.

Well, are they totally bonkers? All three sections appear to be set around the late 1940s, early 1950s and there is a genuine sense of nostalgia throughout the performance.

The show opens with Joyce Grenfell's voice and is called Watch with Mother. We see children playing, fighting and goading each other and, in true form, victimising one child. Highly entertaining and very different.

The show continues with the second section, entitled Town and Country. This, like the rest of the show, is a series of vignettes, and for me, one of the most engaging was the interpretation of Brief Encounter. For those of us who can remember the film it portrayed the angst and atmosphere of the original story brilliantly. The opening sequence of the train was truly creative. The second half of this section which reflected country life in the past, was perhaps overly caricatured but enchanting nevertheless.

The final section, The Infernal Galop, created an intriguing and fun finale set in France. The combination of music and dance is truly reflective of a bygone age.

A wonderful cast, cleverly designed sets and costumes added to an overall atmosphere where music and dance combined to create some magical moments. These, together with several humorous and comic sequences - a man doing his embroidery, servants scrubbing their master and mistress in the bath - not to mention the rabbit, hedgehog and fox, kept everyone entertained. So yes, it is a bit bonkers, but so enjoyable and well received by the audience.

If you love dance this is a must see.


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Sally McKeown: A fantastic night out. Anyone who likes physical theatre will love this!

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