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BWW Review: MOULIN ROUGE! THE MUSICAL at Regent Theatre

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"So exciting, the audience will stomp and cheer"? Absolutely!

BWW Review: MOULIN ROUGE! THE MUSICAL at Regent Theatre
Image by Michelle Grace Hunder

Melbourne, Moulin Rouge! The Musical is Majestic, Marvellous, Magical and Mesmerising!

Like many, I grew up religiously watching Baz Luhrmann's 2001 film Moulin Rouge! It made me fall in love with movie musicals and pop music mashups. It introduced me to the Bohemian mantra of "Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Love" and, most importantly, it made me obsessed with the idea of shouting "All You Need is Love" from on top of a giant artificial elephant! Fast forward twenty years and the giddy tween, theatre nerd, inside of me (learning "Come What May" to sing in the weekend eisteddfod duet category) is tickled pink to be entering the Regent Theatre to see Moulin Rouge! The Musical. After recently receiving 10 Tony Awards, including for Best Musical, there is no doubt that Moulin Rouge! The Musical is a great night out at the theatre. "So exciting, the audience will stomp and cheer"? Absolutely!

With over 70 songs, including new additions from Adele, Katy Perry, Sia, Beyonce and Rihanna, Justin Levine's musical supervision, arrangement, additional lyrics and Tony Award winning orchestrations, with Katie Kresek, Charlie Rosen and Matt Stine, will bring a constant smile to your face. Just when you think you can predict what is coming next in the score, they will pleasantly surprise you.

From the moment you enter the Regent's auditorium you will be transported to the Moulin Rouge. Derek McLane's Tony Award winning, exquisitely sumptuous scenic design, decadently lit by Justin Townsend's Tony Award winning lighting design, is alone worth the ticket price, even before the show begins! It then just keeps getting better and better throughout the evening with the Regent's stage continually transforming between the inside and outside of the Moulin Rouge in 19th century bohemian Montmartre, as well other areas of Paris. Catherine Zuber's Tony Award winning costumes are deliciously camp, smoulderingly tempting and just simply stunning. They reference late 19th century Parisian style while also paying homage to current pop, cabaret, and burlesque.

Alex Timbers' Tony Award direction ensures that the essence of Luhrmann's 2001 film is still present, while also reimagining Moulin Rouge! for a 2021 theatre audience. This was also helped by John Logan's Tony Award winning book, which allows further character development for Satine, Zidler, Toulouse-Lautrec, The Duke and Nini. Sonya Tayeh's choreography excellently blends can-can with burlesque, circus, commercial dance, and traditional musical theatre.

BWW Review: MOULIN ROUGE! THE MUSICAL at Regent Theatre
Alinta Chidzey as Satine & Des Flanagan as Christian
Image by Michelle Grace Hunder

Alinta Chidzey shines brightly as the sparkling diamond, Satine. From the moment she descends from the ceiling in that iconic swing, Chidzey is sublime. With an impressive vocal belt and natural stage presence Chidzey's performance is superb. Des Flanagan brings genuine heart and soul to the naive Bohemian lover, Christian, with his performance bringing a tear to the eye at the end of the evening. Chidzey and Flanagan dazzle brightly as the star-crossed lovers, particularly in the updated "Elephant Love Medley" at the end of Act 1 and then the iconic "Come What May" in Act 2.

Simon Burke AO, makes the role of Moulin Rouge's ringmaster Harold Zidler his own, showcasing his acting and vocal chops by bewitching and beguiling the audience. Tim Omaji is terrifically authentic as Toulouse-Lautrec, with his performance of "Nature Boy" providing a beautiful contrast. Andrew Cook dazzles as The Duke, meshing this antagonist's dangerous desires and demands with handsome charisma and charm. He brings depth, dimensionality, and humanity to The Duke, extending this character beyond a two-dimensional weasel to a real human being, albeit a menacing one.

BWW Review: MOULIN ROUGE! THE MUSICAL at Regent Theatre
Clockwise: Tim Omaji, Alinta Chidzey, Des Flanagan, Simon Burke, Ryan Gonzalez & Andy Cook
Image by Michelle Grace Hunder

Ryan Gonzalez as Santiago and Samantha Dodemaide as Nini are a fantastic dancing and singing duo, particularly in "Backstage Romance" and the illustrious "El Tango De Roxanne". Dodemaide also strongly opens the show alongside Kara Sims as Arabia, Ruva Ngwenya as La Chocolat and Christopher Scalzo as Babydoll in the quintessential "Lady Marmalade" mashup featured in "Welcome to The Moulin Rouge!". Making up the other many colourful and loveable characters of the Moulin Rouge are the members of the ensemble, who are excellent.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical is currently playing at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne until 29th April 2022 and is a night out that you will not want to miss!

For more information and to purchase tickets visit moulinrougemusical.com/australia

BWW Review: MOULIN ROUGE! THE MUSICAL at Regent Theatre
Ryan Gonzalez as Santiago & Samantha Dodemaide as Nini
Image by Michelle Grace Hunder

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