BOBBY MACC | Five Star Reviews — Bobby Macc Bespoke Couture

Moulin Rouge! The Musical is musical theatre perfection. Every single element comes together to deliver an outstanding production that entertains and enthrals from beginning to end.

From the moment the audience enter the theatre, there is a sense of excitement and anticipation in the air – as though we are no longer simply watching a performance but immersed in the bohemian world of the Moulin Rouge in Paris.

The set, designed by Derek McLane, is visually spectacular and looks perfectly at home in the period decor of Melbourne’s Regent Theatre. The stage is flanked by the iconic red windmill (the literal “moulin rouge”) on one side and elephant on the other. Hanging above the stalls are an array of mismatched chandeliers, and festoon lights hang on all levels of the theatre. It’s worth taking your seats early just to take it all in.

The show commences with house lights still up, the atmosphere building and the audience buzzing with anticipation, until our leading man enters, the lights drop and the story begins with an explosion of energy.

The musical is an adaptation of the 2001 film written by Baz Lauhrmann and Craig Pearce. The film was bold, daring and ground-breaking. So too is the musical: the first Australian-produced musical to originate on Broadway.

The book, by John Logan, captures the heart, as well as the bold energy and pace of the film, and fans will not be disappointed in this latest retelling of the story. But where this musical really succeeds is in the incorporation of 75 well known songs, with orchestrations, arrangements and additional lyrics by Justin Levine, that are cleverly interwoven to tell the story and propel the musical forward. The result is a musical filled with surprisingly familiar tunes, but given a fresh and new interpretation with stunning harmonies. It’s all masterfully conducted by Luke Hunter and performed by a 10 piece band.

It’s clever, really, really clever and makes this a very general-public friendly musical. Audiences will immediately feel a sense of connection.

It’s impossible to fault Moulin Rouge! The Musical.

A striking lighting design (Justin Townsend) provides dramatic entrances for each of the leading characters, focuses attention, and itself creates some wow moments.

The choreography by Sonya Tayeh is sexy, high energy and executed effortlessly, highlighting the incredible dancing expertise of the entire cast.

Costumes by Catherine Zuber are exquisite.

But within all the bold dance routines, the striking lighting design and the familiar pop songs there is a beautifully tender love story to be told – and under the direction of Alex Timbers this comes to life, captivating the audience for the entire heart-breaking journey.

The success of this Australian premiere of Moulin Rouge! The Musical lies in the casting.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical is perfectly cast with Australia’s triple threats of theatre.

Alinta Chidzey dazzles as the sparkling diamond, Satine. She exudes a sexy confidence and the star quality befitting the leading lady of the Moulin Rouge. Chidzey brings a confident maturity and warmth to the role.

Des Flanagan is the ideal Christian. He has a fresh-faced innocence that immediately endears him the audience. He’s adorably likeable and brings the youthful enthusiasm of a young man filled with hopes and dreams. Flanagan has a beautiful, soft vibrato and his rendition of ‘Come What May’ is a highlight. As a relatively new-comer to the stage, Des Flanagan effectively IS Christian.

Simon Burke is brilliant as Harold Zidler, bringing a high energy and cheeky naughtiness to the role. Burke looks like he’s having a ball on stage – and the audience are ready to go along for the ride with him.

Tim Omaji makes a welcome return to the stage in the role of Toulouse-Lautrec. His portrayal brings a tender sensitivity.

Andrew Cook is stunning as The Duke. While Cook has an extensive theatre career, this role truly showcases his triple threat talents and leading qualities.

Ryan Gonzalez plays a very strong and sexy Santiago, while Samantha Dodemaide absolutely sizzles as Nini. Their performance of ‘Backstage Romance’ is spectacular. Indeed, there are songs you are likely to never listen to the same way again.

Kara Sims (for this performance) as Arabia, Ruva Ngwenya as La Chocolat and Christopher J Scalzo as Babydoll round out the lead cast. They are bold, sassy, confident and ooze charisma.

The high energy of the opening number, ‘Welcome to the Moulin Rouge’ sets the tone and takes the audience on a mesmerising journey. Wisely, the show ends on that same high energy with which it opened, and it’s impossible to not walk out feeling incredibly positive and thoroughly entertained, humming some familiar tunes in a whole new way.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical is a decadently indulgent and spectacular entertainment feast and no doubt many audience members will return for a second serve.

Congratulations to Global Creatures and producers Carmen Pavlovic, Gerry and Val Ryan, and Bill Damaschke for a truly outstanding and world class production. It’s not surprising it won an incredible 10 Tony Awards in its world premiere season.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical is now playing at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne’s East End Theatre District until April, 2022.

Don’t miss it!

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📸 Michelle Grace Hunder