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‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’ even more magnificently indulgent than the movie

Since Moulin Rouge! The Musical was first presented on stage it has become a mammoth box-office hit. And while it has taken a while to reach our shores, the production is as fresh and effervescent as it would have been when it first tread the boards, if not perfectly polished.

One of the show’s greater accomplishments is in its managing to encompass 70 songs that represent 160 years of music; no simple feat. 

I had no idea the music would evolve that far from the soundtrack Baz Luhrmann first put together for the original film. And that’s a good thing. In fact, I only recognised a few songs from the movie, including opening number, Lady Marmalade and songs by Massive Attack and Elton John.

The rest of the music is a tsunami of popular songs first made famous by the likes of P!nk, Britney Spears, Rihanna, Sia, Katy Perry, et al.

It seems the casting is also kept on-point with diversity being key in the latest lineup of the show where pretty much an L, G, B, T or Q could be spotted in just about every ensemble scene.

It was wonderful to see a childhood idol in one of the lead roles – Simon Burke as flamboyant MC Harold Zidler. I remember seeing Simon in a dozen television series, growing up, including The Sullivans, The Restless Years and A Country Practice. But his biggest gig (for some kids) would have to be as presenter of Playschool.

The fact this clean-cut, butter-wouldn’t-melt TV presenter would go on to play a lascivious stage MC is a feat in itself, and Burke delivers the innuendo tenfold.

So too on-point are Alinta Chidzey in the lead role of Satine, and both her suitors, Des Flanagan as Christian and James Bryers as The Duke. No actor on this stage commands too much attention and it seems that each cast member realises the real joy of this production is in the team-playing, even the trio of main characters in Satine, Christian and The Duke.

As for backdrop and set decoration, this would have to be one of the most splendid settings I’ve seen take over Crown Theatre. There seemed to be more lights and wattage than in a Vegas hotel. And when cast members start to hang off delicate chandeliers, you know someone backstage is doing a damn good job at keeping things safe.

All up, I think I may even have enjoyed the Moulin Rouge! The Musical more than the original Baz Lurhmann movie. From the raucous can-can girls to the ballerinos in half-tuxedo, half-tutu, every character is unique in their own right. But then, what would you expect from a production whose motto includes ‘freedom’ and ‘beauty’ sandwiched between ‘truth’ and ‘love’?

Take a decadent trip and see this grand spectacle of a show.

Antonino Tati

‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’ is currently on at Crown Theatre, Perth.

Tickets are available at moulinrougemusical.com.



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