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Moulin Rouge! The Musical Reopening — Naarm, Melbourne (VIC)

Book by John Logan, direction by Alex Timbers, choreography by Sonya Tayeh, music supervised by Justine Levine, scenic design by Derek McLane. Presented by Global Creatures.


Reviewed by Edelweiss Angelita

Regent Theatre, Naarm/Melbourne

Booking until December, 2023


4.5 STARS


- Moulin Rouge! The Musical returns to Melbourne with all the sparkle, joy and exuberance audiences have come to love -

The Regent Theatre is once again transformed to welcome bohemians and aristocrats, boulevardiers and reprobates for the homecoming of Moulin Rouge! The Musical to Naarm, Melbourne, marking its final season in Australia.

Having just arrived in Melbourne this year, I had been eagerly anticipating this production all year. As someone who has devoutly listened to the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Moulin Rouge! The Musical for the past four years, stepping foot in the theatre thinking I had adequately prepared myself for this moment could not have been more wrong.

Cast of Moulin Rouge! The Musical in Melbourne. Photography: Daniel Boud

Moulin Rouge! The Musical immerses you audibly, visually and emotionally. All 19 numbers throughout the show comprise 75 hits spanning over 160 years of music, credited to 161 writers — every single one of them you would probably recognise to some degree. While some people might have reservations about jukebox musicals, Justine Levine and team’s arrangement and orchestration are so brilliant you would find even the least theatrical songs find its fitting home in this show.

Being a huge ensemble show, it’s expected that the most powerful numbers are the ones where the stage is beautifully filled to the edges with the show’s extraordinary ensemble, thanks to Sonya Tayeh’s masterful choreography. The opening number ‘Welcome to the Moulin Rouge!’ and the Act One closing number ‘Elephant Love Medley’ are remarkable, to say the least, singlehandedly keeping the audience at the edge of their seats, unblinking and wanting to savour the abundance of details the performance has to offer. However, the production’s most underrated moments are probably when the leads come together and conquer the stage.

Satine (Alinta Chidzey) and Christian’s (Des Flanagan) first heart-melting duet of the show, Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ is strategically positioned as the perfect initial cooldown after the show’s first few tremendous, upbeat numbers. It also serves as a foundation for ‘So Exciting!’ to pick the show up once again, introducing the playful side of have a soft spot for underdogs, Toulouse-Lautrec’s stripped down ‘Nature Boy’, performed by Bert LaBonté, will captivate you with its raw, grounded, and emotionally rich honesty.


Undoubtedly earns its 10 Tony Awards®, giving the audience endless reasons to love it

As the show progresses into the second act, the company performs as if every number is their last, fully charging the room with electric energy. At some point during ‘Backstage Romance’, the audience might even start to worry if the stage will collapse from all the maxed-out, energised stomping, which was fascinating to witness. It’s not just the music and dance that intensify with each subsequent number throughout the rest of the show. The set, lighting, and costume provide a solid foundation and support for the second act to be as explosive as it is. This is what you get when a company is determined to pursue its ambitious artistic vision, filling the room with more than 3,500 light bulbs, over 200 speakers, and dressing over 30 of their cast and ensemble members in 793 individual costume pieces to enhance their performance.

Flanagan brings a richer dimension to the lovestruck singer-songwriter Christian with his performance in ‘El Tango De Roxanne’ and ‘Crazy Rolling’, delivering the numbers with an intensity that grips the audience, barely giving them a moment to mentally prepare for his next note that will blast through the entire room and drop jaws to the floor.

In addition to her obvious vocal prowess, Chidzey embodies the sparkling diamond Satine with grace and poise. Simultaneously, she allows the audience to catch a glimpse of the bright-eyed, inherently independent woman that Satine is, leaving us desperate to see her live in that possibility instead of the life she currently leads. Chidzey’s portrayal of Satine is richly layered, leaving the audience with no choice but to root for her happiness, only to have their hearts broken with each moment of inner turmoil her character generously unveils before us.

Simon Burke AO delivers a splendid, vocally and energetically immaculate performance as the legendary club impresario Harold Zidler, commanding the room with his charm and slyness, making him the life of the party.

James Bryers’ The Duke grows increasingly powerful throughout the show, peaking when he absolutely demolishes ‘Only Girl in a Material World’ in the second act.

Ryan Gonzalez and Samantha Dodemaide seize their moments to shine as Santiago and Nini respectively in the second act without leaving any crumbs behind.

The ever-enchanting Kahlia Davis as Arabia, Chaska Halliday as La Chocolat, and Christopher J Scalzo as Babydoll, along with every single ensemble member are in a tight competition of ‘Who sparkles brighter?’ against the 3,500 Preciosa crystals adorning Satine’s gown.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical undoubtedly earns its 10 Tony Awards®, giving the audience endless reasons to love it.

 

Moulin Rouge! The Musical


CAST Alinta Chidzey Satine

Des Flanagan Christian

Simon Burke AO Harold Zidler

James Bryers The Duke of Monroth

Bert LaBonté Toulouse-Lautrec

Ryan Gonzalez Santiago

Samantha Dodemaide Nini

Kahlia Davis Arabia

Chaska Halliday La Chocolat

Christopher J Scalzo Babydoll

Patrice Tipoki Satine Alternate

Amy Berrisford Ensemble

Jarrod Draper Principal Cover (Toulouse-Lautrec/Christian)

Simon Fairweather Ensemble

Adam-Jon Fiorentino Principal Cover (Duke/Zidler)

Brittany Ford Swing

Natalie Foti Ensemble

Danielle Gibson Ensemble

Peter Ho Ensemble

Stefan Lagoulis Ensemble

Adam Lyon Ensemble

Avigalle Mendoza Ensemble

Brittany Page Swing

Morgan Palmer Ensemble

Sam Parkes Swing

Liam Peel Ensemble

Rania Potaka-Osborne Swing

Emma Russell Ensemble

Joshua Russell Ensemble

Maxwell Simon Principal Cover (Christian/Duke)

David Sirianni Co-Dance Captain/Swing

Bree Stephens Ensemble

Bree Tipoki Co-Dance Captain/Swing

William Tukia-Edwards Ensemble

Daniel Wijngaarden Swing CREATIVES

BOOK John Logan

DIRECTOR Alex Timbers

CHOREOGRAPHER Sonya Tayeh

MUSIC SUPERVISOR, ORCHESTRATOR, ARRANGEMENTS & ADDITIONAL LYRICS Justin Levine

SCENIC DESIGNER Derek McLane

COSTUME DESIGNER Catherine Zuber

LIGHTING DESIGNER Justin Townsend

SOUND DESIGNER Peter Hylenski


AUSTRALIA CREATIVE TEAM

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR Jacinta John

ASSOCIATE MUSIC SUPERVISOR Stephen Amos

ASSOCIATE CHOREOGRAPHER Danielle Bilios

SET DESIGN ASSOCIATE Isabel Hudson

COSTUME DESIGN ASSOCIATE Janet Hine

LIGHTING DESIGN ASSOCIATE Gavan Swift

SOUND DESIGN ASSOCIATE David Greasley

WIG, HAIR AND MAKE UP DESIGN ASSOCIATE Kylie Clarke

RESIDENT DIRECTOR Jennifer Sarah Dean

RESIDENT MUSICAL DIRECTOR Matthew Carey

RESIDENT CHOREOGRAPHER Travis Khan

Moulin Rouge! The Musical returns to Melbourne for its final Australian leg. Tickets for performances through December 31st are available through Ticketek, the only authorised ticket seller. Tickets start from $69 + handling fee.


Moulin Rouge! The Musical is directed by Tony Award® winner Alex Timbers (other credits include Here Lies Love, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Peter and the Starcatcher) with a book by Tony Award® winner John Logan (also three-time Academy Award nominee including for Gladiator and The Aviator), choreography by Tony Award® winner Sonya Tayeh (also Lucille Lortel Award for Kung Fu and Emmy winner) and music supervision, orchestrations and arrangements by Tony Award® winner Justin Levine (other credits include Here Lies Love, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson).


The design team for Moulin Rouge! The Musical includes Tony Award® winner Derek McLane (sets; other credits include Beautiful - The Carole King Musical), Tony Award® and Olivier Award winner Catherine Zuber (costumes; other credits include The King and I, My Fair Lady), Tony Award® winner Justin Townsend (lighting), Tony Award® winner Peter Hylenski (sound), Drama Desk Award winner David Brian Brown (wig and hair design; other credits include Come From Away), Sarah Cimino (make-up design) and Tony Award® winner Matt Stine (Music Producer). Australian casting is by Lisa Campbell and Jim Carnahan.


Moulin Rouge! The Musical is produced by Carmen Pavlovic and Gerry Ryan OAM for Global Creatures and Bill Damaschke, and is currently playing on Broadway, the West End, and is touring North America and Australia. The production opened in Cologne, Germany and Seoul, South Korea in late 2022 and Tokyo, Japan in mid-2023. The Executive Producer of the Australian production is Angela Dalton, Global Creatures.



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