As an avid lover of musicals, I was so excited to hear that Moulin Rouge – The Musical was coming to The Piccadilly Theatre in London. The film version, starring Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman, won two Oscars, so I was interested and eager to see how it translated on stage. It is safe to say that it was an absolute triumph.
Set in Montmartre, Paris, Moulin Rouge follows the story of writer, and hopeless romantic, Christian, and the beautiful, talented Satine, a dancer from the infamous Moulin Rouge club. The club was a place where both bohemians and gentlemen could rub shoulders and enjoy the glitz, glamour, splendour of their surroundings, and its incredible performers.
A story of freedom, beauty, truth and most importantly love, we watch as Satine is offered a way to save the club and put on a brand-new show by the genuinely threatening Duke (Simon Bailey), whilst also falling in love with Christian. Meeting in secret, Satine and Christian start their love affair, but as the opening night of their new show nears, events begin to unfold that seem determined to drag the pair apart forever. The show is similar enough to the film that I was able to recognise each character and grasp the storyline, however, watching the film isn’t necessary to fully immerse yourself in this exuberant performance.
Before the show started, we were treated to a snapshot of what was to come as the cast members, already in their phenomenal costumes, lingered on the incredible stage, designed to perfection. It wasn’t long before it felt like we really were in the Moulin Rouge itself, surrounded by bohemians and dancers alike.
Starring Jamie Bogyo as Christian, the hopeless romantic, and Liisi LaFontaine as the independent, strong Satine (a brave but welcome change from the Satine we know from the film) this was an incredible show, full of colour, music and dance; for sheer spectacle alone, this is well worth attending.
Each character was perfectly cast, from the loveable and witty Toulouse (Jason Pennycooke) to the fierce, no nonsense Nini (Sophie Carmen Jones). There was not a single actor who didn’t bring something special to the show. Zidler (Clive Carter) was loud, engaging and funny one moment, and a no-nonsense businessman the next. The Duke was genuinely frightening and dangerous (completely unlike the slimy Duke from the film). Satine and Christian were perfect, their chemistry real, every interaction between the two being natural, each bringing something refreshing and interesting to these iconic roles.
The dialogue of the entire show was witty, the story fun and exciting, beautiful at times and moving in others. Most importantly though, it includes some of the most celebrated songs from the film, such as the beautiful ‘Come What May’, but also features brand new songs which bring a new energy and sense of wonder to the performance. In addition to the songs from the original film, you can expect to hear songs from Beyonce, Katy Perry, Adele and more; in fact, you can expect to hear over 75 credited songs, meaning that even the biggest fan of the film will experience something new and truly surprising.
If it sounds like I’m gushing a bit over this show, it’s because I am. I was unsure and in fact slightly worried about what to expect, having loved the film since I first saw it many years ago, but I would argue that this didn’t just live up to the film, it did in fact outshine it, a true sparkling diamond in the West End – if you didn’t want to live the life of a true bohemian before seeing the show, you certainly will after.
Moulin Rouge The Musical – tickets at the Piccadilly Theatre are available now.