Moulin Rouge – review

“With fireworks, confetti, glitter cannons and a sparkling Eiffel Tower, Derek pulled out all the stops for this play"
Piccadilly Theatre
afridiziak ratings
Review by: Christina Nicole
Published: Tuesday 15th January 2022, 10:20am

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of MOULIN ROUGE is the classic music video for LADY MARMALADE. The big red and gold heart backdrop and burlesque outfits made that video iconic and was a perfect choice for the opening song of the stage show.

The moment you enter the auditorium you are in for a scenic treat. With a giant elephant, red drapes, flashing lights and dancers on stage, you almost forget that you are in the theatre, as the set transports you to the MOULIN ROUGE club in Paris. I was sold the moment I saw the set.

I was sold the moment I saw the set

Having watched the Baz Luhrmann version many years ago and feeling underwhelmed by the songs, performances, and lack of diversity; I was slightly apprehensive about the stage version. However, Alex Timbers version was quite the opposite. With a black Satine, a diverse cast, good songs, and outstanding performances – Timber created a stage masterpiece that outshone the original movie.

The story of the play mirrors the film; a young American songwriter called Christian (Jamie Bogyo) has travelled to Paris in the hopes of becoming successful and finding love. Along his journey he meets two men – Toulouse-Lautrec (Jason Pennycooke) and Santiago (Elia Lo Tauro) who, like Christian, hope to be successful one day. The trio decide their only hope for success is to perform in front of the leading lady of the Moulin Rouge – Satine (Liisi LaFontaine). Satine is the Moulin Rouge’s diamond girl. She attracts people with great wealth and catches the eye of a rich Duke (Simon Bailey).

The story becomes complicated when Satine falls for Christian instead of the duke. With the Moulin Rouge becoming bankrupt, her only choice is to become the duke’s mistress in return for his money and power to fund the club. Although tied to the Duke, Satine’s love for Christian grows and becomes obvious to all those around them including the duke. Like Romeo and Juliet, it all ends in tragedy as passion, anger, egos, death, and jealousy take over and tear everyone apart.

Although I knew the story well, the play made me feel like it was brand new. With new songs and modern updates, it certainly was a joy to watch. What I loved about the play was the set. Stage designer Derek McLane did an outstanding job of creating depth and layers to the stage. From luxurious red velvet fabric draping the stage and auditorium to a giant regal elephant that towered over the audience; it made the set look very plush. The stage had no limits (and endless budget) as it transformed from the club to the streets of Paris. With fireworks, confetti, glitter cannons and a sparkling Eiffel Tower, Derek pulled out all the stops for this play.

I was amazed by how much talent was on the stage. With amazing singing and great dancing, I enjoyed every second of the cast’s performances. 

I also loved the performances from the full cast. From the moment, you take your seat, the cast are on stage performing their hearts out. We are greeted with knife swallowing and burlesque performers. I was amazed by how much talent was on the stage. With amazing singing and great dancing, I enjoyed every second of the cast’s performances.

Both Satine (Liisi Lafontaine) and Christian (Jamie Bogyo) played the lead lovers fantastically. Liisi was the ultimate showgirl, not only did she swing down from the sky in diamonds, dance like it was her last dance and sing her heart out; she also embodied Satine and was very believable. John also embodied Christian and acted and danced superbly. He had an outstanding voice and great stage presence. I was impressed to read that this was his debut performance as he was effortless. The duke (Simon Bailey), Harold Zidler (Clive Carter), Toulouse-Lautrec (Jason Pennycooke), Santiago (Elia Lo Tauro) and the full chorus were all outstanding. They all became their characters and were exceptional at dancing, acting, and singing.

Other than the performance, what made this play so entertaining were the songs. With the main dialogue being sung, it was great to hear songs I recognised. The songs were carefully selected and would often be a mash up of multiple hits. From ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ to Beyoncé ‘Single ladies’. Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ to Britney Spears ‘Toxic’. Each song was upbeat, entertaining and had the audience singing along.

The play was bold, diverse, inclusive, camp, and full of sparkle. It represented modern London and didn’t hold back. I found it entertaining and a joy to watch. It’s definitely a play to see and will have you cheering for more.

 

NEED TO KNOW: Moulin Rouge is at the Piccadilly Theatre London

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Five
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of MOULIN ROUGE is the classic music video for LADY MARMALADE. The big red and gold heart backdrop and burlesque outfits made that video iconic and was a perfect choice for the opening...moulin-rouge