Piccadilly Theatre, London – until 3rd June 2023
Reviewed by Liberty Noke
Moulin Rouge! Opens quite spectacularly with an incredibly talented ensemble performing Welcome to the Moulin Rouge. Every single member of the cast was performing with high energy, large exaggerated facial expressions and wonderful vocals. During this number there was something happening in every corner of the stage. It was impossible to be looking everywhere at once but everywhere you did look was mesmerising. The costumes, hair and makeup were unbelievable. The bright colours colours filled the stage. All the ensemble numbers were amazing I would say they were the highlight of the show. Every member of the ensemble was so talented.
This staged version of Moulin Rouge! Is an updated version of Baz Lurman’s movie. It still tells the story of the nightclub the Moulin Rouge and songwriter Christian (Jamie Muscato) who comes to Paris and meets Satine (Melissa James’) there but she is expected to show interest to only the Duke (Ben Richards) whose money may be the only way to save the struggling Moulin Rouge. One of the main changes is the addition of some more modern songs. Some of these worked very well while others I felt were a mistake. During a moment of reflection and self-doubt Satine sings Katy Perry’s Firework. This almost feels like a parody of a jukebox musical. It was almost humorous and was even met my some snickers by the audience as they realised what song it was. The fact that this is a jukebox musical makes it more accessible to a wider audience, appealing especially to those watching a muscial for the first time but I feel not all of the songs chosen were appropriate.
Jamie Muscato gave a sensational performance as Christian his vocals were a standout among the cast and he performed with such emotion you genuinely believed him to be the lovesick, tortured artist. He has a very expressive face and was able to create some small, comical moments. Of course the real comedians were Toulouse (Ian Carlyle) and Santiago (Elia Lo Tauro) they both kept up an accent throughout the entire performance, even while singing, and formed an endearing double act.
Matt Rixton played the divinely camp Harold Zidler. He was a sensational ringmaster leading the company and perfectly embodied the character.
Melissa James’ made a sensational entrance as Satine and while her performance was good I found that Satine didn’t stand out. With so many sensational performers on the stage. I was not blown away by this performance.
A despicably good performance was given by Ben Richards as the Duke. Everything from the way he moved and carried himself to the way he spoke was unpleasant he really was the perfect villain.
Overall, Moulin Rouge! is a dazzling, exuberant fun-filled show oozing with passion. It makes for wonderful evening but is, in my opinion, a little way from perfection.