Moulin Rouge! The Musical Review

Piccadilly Theatre – booking until 23 July 2022


Reviewed by Claire Roderick

It was never going to be subtle, but the transformation of Piccadilly Theatre into a glitzy and garish Parisian nightclub is worth a couple of stars before the show even starts. With the iconic blue elephant facing the sparkling red windmill across the auditorium, the design of this production is jaw dropping, creating a buzz in the audience that reaches fever pitch when the familiar beat of Lady Marmalade begins.

John Logan’s adaptation is shinier and more perky than Baz Luhrmann’s film, and the addition of songs from the 20 years since the film was made works wonderfully, releasing the stage show from the shackles of comparison. The tragic love story remains, with American country boy Christian and Satine, the star of the Moulin Rouge, falling in love but having to hide their affair from the Duke who agrees to bankroll the Moulin Rouge on condition that he owns Satine. All this while Satine is dying of consumption. The plot is still paper thin, but it doesn’t really matter as the audience is swept away on a dazzling wave of colour, dance and incredible renditions of familiar songs (there’s even a snippet of Rick Astley thrown in!).

Liisi LaFontaine is a spectacular Satine – captivating and full of emotion. She is matched beautifully by Jamie Boygo, capturing the naivety and passion of Christian in his stunning professional debut. Clive Carter is great fun as the manic but caring Zidler, and Simon Bailey’s dastardly Duke is fantastically slappable. Jason Pennycooke steals every scene as Toulouse-Lautrec with his heart-breaking unrequited love for Satine, and Elia Lo Tauro is hilarious as Santiago.

Every dance number is spectacular, but Backstage Romance will blow your mind, with stripped back design keeping the focus on the brilliant ensemble and the inspired choreography to a mashup of Lady Gaga, White Stripes and Britney.

A visual feast, with an uplifting soundtrack and stellar performances, Moulin Rouge is unmissable.