Review: Moulin Rouge! The Musical Is Eye Popping, Jaw-Dropping

Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Piccadilly Theatre ★★★★☆

Review: Moulin Rouge! The Musical Is Eye Popping, Jaw-Dropping Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Piccadilly Theatre 4
The cast of moulin rouge in top hates and can can outfits in front of a blood red heart shaped backdrop
Moulin Rouge! The Musical is an eye-popping, jaw-dropping spectacle filled to the brim with exhilarating dance numbers. Image: Matt Crockett

If ever a show merited an exclamation mark, it's Moulin Rouge! The Musical.

An eye-popping, jaw-dropping spectacle filled to the brim with exhilarating dance numbers, pounding pop-rock mashups and every kind of plot cliche under the sun, this is the stuff of pure entertainment.

Based on Baz Lurhmann’s 2001 film about two star-crossed lovers meeting in a Parisian cabaret club, the production has already won a hatful of awards for its Broadway run — and it is easy to see why.

an actor peers out from behind glowing red neon lights
There's much to take in visually but your ears will be thanking you too. Image: Matt Crockett

Luhrmann's cheeky camera tricks are replaced with dazzling choreography and the lighting and set design are exquisite, particularly the massive props overlooking the audience from the sides (a red windmill to the left, a blue elephant to the right).

There's much to take in visually but your ears will be thanking you too, with over 70 pop-rock classics used to glorious effect. Standout numbers from the film like Your Song, The Can Can and Lady Marmalade are retained, while many newer references are thrown in: Lady Gaga, Beyonce and The Postal Service. Of all the additions, the thrilling take on Adele's Rolling In The Deep hits home hardest.

Liisi LaFontaine and Jamie Bogyo embrace and duet
Liisi LaFontaine and Jamie Bogyo both have commendable voices, but lack a bit of the charisma and the chemistry. Image: Matt Crockett

OK, the show's not perfect; while Broadway used highly experienced musical theatre actors, the central roles of Satine and Christian here are played by a comparative newcomer (Liisi LaFontaine) and an actual newcomer (scriptwriter Jamie Bogyo making his West End debut); while both have commendable voices, they lack a bit of the charisma and the chemistry to make us truly care about their tragic plight.

Those looking for a (more) convincing nightclub musical should head across town to Cabaret but, in terms of sheer unadulterated fun, Moulin Rouge! The Musical is hard to beat.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Piccadilly Theatre, from £30. Until 28 May 2022.

Last Updated 24 January 2022