I have been very privileged to have been able to travel to Europe with my family over the past month. Mostly to see family, but we were also able to squeeze in a few shows!
I’ve written a blog/review for each…
Review 3 – Moulin Rouge, Piccadilly Theatre, London
With only two nights in the West End, we had to choose wisely, and Moulin Rouge was the perfect contrast to the evening before. (Back to the Future the Musical).
We had tried to buy tickets to the actual Moulin Rouge in Paris the week prior but missed out by this much, so we had a lot riding on this show.
Again, I loved the film when it came out, so I knew the story which was adapted here, with some necessary modernisations. I've since read that Baz Luhrmann wasn't involved with the re-imagining, considering he might try to "protect every choice that was made in the original as if it were somehow sacred, which is the antithesis of art". He therefore oversaw the transformation, which worked in his favour as the end result was fresh and exciting, just as the film had been when it was released in 2001. Something to get excited about!
Firstly – wow! It was truly beautiful, from the moment you entered the auditorium, with the hazy red lights and performers wandering around the stage, sometimes watching us. It truly took us on a journey and there were no dull moments.
I'm always fascinated how films become musicals and visa versa, the creativity required to stage such a visual piece. Again the staging really impressed me, the joys of having such a vast budget! Completely shifting to create different spaces in mere moments, with impeccable timing of trucks pulling in set pieces adorned with performers in the middle of a scene and faultless lighting. Speaking of which, the lighting design was simply incredible – it really was a feature of its own. I'm not a techie
so I have no idea how to explain, but I have never loved lighting more in any show I have seen. Costumes blew us away. With a show like this, the designer has so much to work with, and she did. Every article was more beautiful than the next, capturing the grunge, the beauty and the theatricality of the environment. Stunning.
The performers of course were immaculate. Soaring voices and passionate recreations of the film characters, yet somehow they managed to make them completely new and honest. From the first wandering dancer on stage pre-show, to the final curtain, they were all electric. And, I'll admit it, I cried. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I couldn't help myself. A timeless, heart breaking love story but so much more than that.
Really felt very full by the end, nothing like live theatre to make you feel connected and human. The standing ovation at both shows were full of joy and appreciation... for these people really are superstars, and I mean everyone involved in the production.