Moulin Rouge the Musical - UK Review

 Moulin Rouge is one of those films that is timeless in its storytelling. It's also a film that has a huge cult following, so when the news of a fully fledged musical hit the news everyone was both nervous and excited to see what it would entail. 

Both me and my mum are absolutely huge fans of the original movie. To the point that we loved nothing more than singing the Elephant Love Medley at the top of our voices whenever we could. So as soon as we knew that the Moulin Rouge Musical would be heading to the West End, we booked tickets. After several months (think it was closer to a year!) of waiting, the day finally arrived. Would we be whisked away by the green fairy, or would be want to join the can-can line. 

From the moment that you step into the theatre you are transformed into the iconic Moulin Rouge. The walls are draped in velvet, the staging is iconic and no matter where you sit in the theatre you feel like you are in the middle of the action. It's worth noting that seats for this show aren't cheap. We paid around £70 and were sat in the Grand Circle (highest level) in row B. Whilst we did have an almost unobstructed view, it did occasionally get blocked if the row in front moved forward. This didn't hinder our thoughts on the show though, as there is very little action across the extended platform that is pivotal to the show. Having said that, I wouldn't recommend sitting much further back as I would assume a lot could be missed. 

The show itself is as close to the original story as it can be. You are introduced to Christian, a young hopeless romantic who's biggest goal in life is to write the greatest love story of all time. When he is introduced to the Moulin Rouge he finds himself falling for Satine, the starring diamond of the show. But whilst they forge a romance like no other, they must keep it under wraps in order to secure the financial future of the Moulin Rouge. 

Whilst the show did feature hit songs that fans know and love including Come What May, and the Elephant Love Medley, it did change the majority of the soundtrack and some classic songs were changed for a more modern audience. Whilst I felt some of these worked really well such as Bad Romance - dubbed Backstage Romance and Only Girl in a Material World where the classic Material Girl was blended with Rihanna's Only Girl, some failed to hit the mark. Chandelier and Crazy Rolling left some of the audience giggling in their seats and the songs felt jarring against the story that was being told on stage. 

Whilst I personally thought that some of the pieces didn't work in the show, these generally were the solo's or duets where the energy on stage was generally at a low point in the show. That's not to say that the performers weren't good, merely that the songs just didn't fit the atmosphere the way I would have liked them to. As soon as the ensemble entered and the big number pieces took place I was on the edge of my seat and in awe of the spectacle that was on stage. Each ensemble piece felt like a showstopper and the solo pieces merely a fill gap for the next stunning group performance. 

We went to see the show on a Wednesday evening, as a result we had the alternate Christian and Satine on stage. Both were great, with Adam Gillian giving all the smouldering and vulnerability that we need in a character like Christian opposite Tanisha Spring that brought the right level of glamour and professionalism that Satine conveys in the story. Her entrance on the iconic swing was something I won't forget in a hurry! I have to say that the performances by Elia Lo Tauro as Santiago and Sophie Carmen Jones as Nina totally blew me away. Their on stage energy and performances left me waiting anxiously for their next entrance. They just perfectly conveyed these roles and I couldn't have cast better myself. 

Moulin Rouge was a show that had it big hits and misses. Whilst I still can't get over the big showstopper songs, the venue and the casting, I can't help but feel that some of the changes to the songs really let the show down. That is nothing on the performers themselves, but when handed material that isn't the same as the original story, you are always going to have people that are wishing for something a bit more true to the story. Both myself and my mum loves the show. It was a night out to remember, but it also left us longing for some of the story that was left behind. It's true to say that we left a part of ourselves in the Moulin Rouge, but it didn't win our hearts. 

Moulin Rouge is currently running at the Piccadilly Theatre, London and tickets start from £30. There is also a lottery to win tickets for £25. To find out more follow the link: Moulin Rouge Lottery

No comments