With the show’s lavish sets, fiery choreography and stand out performances Moulin Rouge! The Musical is everything we need to celebrate. The feeling in the theatre created by this jewel of a piece is one of celebration, connection and the euphoria we all need a taste of right now.
At the heart of the musical is the love story that stands effortlessly on the writing by John Logan. Together with the incredible performances of relative and complete newcomers Liisi LaFontaine and Jamie Bogyo in the leading roles. More on them to come…
The thing that worries me about lavish musicals is the fear that the acting of the piece will not hold up. Not so here, with dynamic and intelligent direction from Alex Timbers and impeccable casting by Pippa Ailion, the pillars of good story telling are at the heart of this renewed telling of this much-loved story.
Moulin Rouge!, known to many from the Baz Luhrmann film, has been innovatively re-imagined for the stage by the creative team, winning many awards on Broadway before Covid cruelly shut everything down. To open a new creation in this climate in the West End is the creative bravery we so desperately need to reignite our world-famous home for the musical and to welcome back the audiences from near and far that come to taste its delights. All the challenges of mounting such a feat must be applauded as well as the quality and vibrancy it brings to our cultural landscape.
The so-called ‘Jukebox’ musical which cleverly uses contemporary pop songs spanning the decades to make every age group feel included, adds wit and connection in an artful way. Songs by Adele, The Rolling Stones and Britney sit effortlessly into the narrative and connect all generations to the emotions evoked in the story and the songs.
Diversity in all aspects of the casting is a true celebration which reflects the core of this story and adds authenticity and energy to the piece.
Seasoned performers in principal roles, Clive Carter, Jason Pennycooke and Elia Lo Tauro add weight and charm with their performances and are a delight. But it is the two young lovers that steal the night with their youthful energy and nuanced performances. Yes, nuanced – in a lavish musical!
Jamie Bogyo, a recent RADA graduate explodes on to the scene as young ‘Christian’ in his professional stage debut. His voice will need support if he is to make the demands of 8 shows a week but his intelligent, charismatic performance is a triumph and the chemistry between him and leading lady Liisi Lafontaine as ‘Satine’ is delicious. Liisi gives a stand out performance and carrying a role to this degree with not much experience is not to be underestimated. Her vocal dexterity is ravishing as is her thought through performance. Bravo to the producers for casting this exciting and fresh, talented pair to tell this timeless love story. A story of lavish love against the backdrop of poverty and admiral aspirations – a story we need right now.