REVIEW: Moulin Rouge Gets Australia Seriously Back On Stage - Noise11.com
Moulin Rouge! The Musical at the Regent Theatre Photo by MICHELLE GRACE HUNDERMoulin Rouge! The Musical at the Regent Theatre Photo by MICHELLE GRACE HUNDER

Moulin Rouge! The Musical at the Regent Theatre Photo by MICHELLE GRACE HUNDER

REVIEW: Moulin Rouge Gets Australia Seriously Back On Stage

by Paul Cashmere on November 28, 2021

in News

Moulin Rouge is everything that is great about Australian theatre. It is entertaining, fast paced and features a perfectly curated songlist offering something for everyone.

After nearly two years of Covid lockdowns and theatre lockouts, ‘Moulin Rouge’ is an incredible production to remind us of all of the fun of going to the theatre.

Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 film starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won two. 20 years on, the musical romp has been updated with a fresh selection of songs.

The production Friday night in Melbourne starred Des Flanaghan as Christian and Alinta Chidzey as Satine but it is Australian theatre legend Simon Burke who excels as Harold Zidler and Tim Omaji (Timomatic) as Toulouse-Lautrec who carry the storyline forward. Burke has previously starred as Mr Banks in ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘Captain von Trapp in ‘The Sound of Music’. Omaji starred in the Australian productions of ‘Rent’, ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and ‘Fame’.

CLOCKWISE Tim Omaji, Alinta Chidzey, Des Flanagan , Simon Burke, Ryan Gonzalez, Andy Cook CREDIT MICHELLE GRACE HUNDER CLOCKWISE Tim Omaji, Alinta Chidzey, Des Flanagan , Simon Burke, Ryan Gonzalez, Andy Cook CREDIT MICHELLE GRACE HUNDER

 

The story, while fiction is somewhat based in history. The original Moulin Rouge in Paris began construction in 1889, the same year they began to build the Eiffel Tower. Timomatic’s character Toulouse-Lautrec is a depiction of the famous painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Toulouse-Lautrec (the real one), really did create artwork for the Moulin Rouge and had his works displayed there. Burke’s Harold Zigler is based on Charles Zigler, the original co-owner of the Moulin Rouge.

A musical obviously needs music but the movie was now 20 years old. The main Moulin Rouge musical signature theme, ‘Lady Marmalade’ and the recurring Elton John ‘Your Song’ have been kept but the 2021 story is told through contemporary lyrics.

Adele’s ‘Rolling In The Deep’, Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ and Lorde’s ‘Royals’ give this new production a contemporary feel. The Rolling Stones ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ and ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ detail the storyline with cherry-picked lyrics to enhance the personality of the characters. This also occurs with two from The Police ‘Roxanne’ and ‘Every Breath You Take’.

Musically, they drop in different eras which ignites recognition across various pockets of audience at different times. Are 80s hits your thing? ‘Take On Me’ by A-Ha and ‘Whats Love Got To Do With It’ will check that box. 90s? Help yourself to some Whitney Houston. 21st century? You are covered as well with Lady Gaga, Gnarls Barkley and Beyonce? Part of the charm of ‘Moulin Rouge’ is the multiple eras covered across the show.

It’s a simple plot. Struggling composer lucks into working for the Moulin Rouge and becomes the love interest wedged Chidey’s Satine and the ruthless and greedy Duke of Monroth, who invests with Zigler but is more intent of ownership of both the building and Satine. The plot thickens with Satine reveals she does not have long to live.

Some of this is told through the song ‘Come What May’, originally written for Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo + Juliet’ but used for the first time in the Moulin Rouge movie.

Simon Burke as Zidler CREDIT MICHELLE GRACE HUNDER Simon Burke as Zidler CREDIT MICHELLE GRACE HUNDER

 

So yes, there is a plot, but Moulin Rouge is all about the visual, the spectacular and the music. Oh, and all the dancing. Let’s not forget that the Can-Can originally came from the real Moulin Rouge in Paris.

If you are ever in Paris you can visit the real Moulin Rouge at 82 Bd de Clichy, 75018 Paris, France and when in Melbourne visit Moulin Rouge at Melbourne’s Regent theatre until 29 April 2022.

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