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Moulin Rouge! The Musical


Piccadilly Theatre

16 Denman Street, Soho, London W1D 7DY 0333 009 6690

Moulin Rouge The Musical
  • Synopsis
  • Theatremonkey show opinion
  • Reader reviews
  • Performance schedule
  • Ticket prices

WHERE TO BUY TICKETS / "BUY OR AVOID" SEAT GUIDE

CONTAINS STROBE LIGHTING.
NOT SUITABLE FOR THOSE AGED UNDER 12 OR THE EASILY OFFENDED.

Rocking in Paris, a crazy tale of beauty and freedom - less a musical, more a state of mind.

Based on the Baz Luhrman movie, this Broadway hit comes to London.

 

 

 

(seen at the afternoon preview performance on 27th November 2021). Some actors have now left the cast.

Some 38 years after an ill-fated attempt to turn the Piccadilly Theatre into a cabaret venue featuring Parisian-style show “I” (later, “Y” – the show which actually opened – long story), the Moulin Rouge arrives with an overpowering bang.

Based on Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 film which blended startling images, the then-fashionable “musical mash-up” style of mixing contrasting songs, and a simple story of a love triangle between dying chorine, immoral Duke and star-struck poor boy, this is the live version, most music intact with a few more added to give it stage running time.

It's glitzy as hell, Derek McLane and Catherine Zuber do a phenomenal job on set and costumes respectively. Nothing which cannot be covered in sparkle goes without, anything which should not be anyway, is. There’s no point the French demanding fishing rights in British waters either – all their nets are on the legs of the cast here. You’ll hear it just fine with Peter Hylenski’s sound design keeping it the right side of exciting but not too loud for comfort.

The problem for the monkey was the pace. John Logan’s book squeezes almost all the huge musical stuff into the first half and Alex Timbers direction has the energy which made the lengthy opening numbers in particular feel like being beaten repeatedly round the head with a slice of chocolate cake.

There’s space for excellent solo performances – Liisi LaFontaine’s Satine and Jamie Bogyo’s Christian unforgettable in the spotlight on the extended stage. The whole cast rock the joint as an ensemble (arrive early to catch a little posing) too when called on. Oddly, however, there’s not actual “stop the show” moment as the tone is relentless.

By the second half the show decides to develop what little storyline there is, and the music, choreographed big numbers and cabaret atmosphere fall away in favour of longer spoken scenes with less humour landing than probably intended. They pretty much pull it back by the final scene or two, but it all feels a little past its welcome by then.

Still, mention must also be made of the wonderful Clive Carter as club owner and MC Harold Zidler – is this what the MC in Cabaret’s father looked like? Stupendous performance too from Jason Pennycooke as Toulouse-Lautrec, getting real pathos into his character even as Simon Bailey as the Duke oozes increasing poison in his.

Notes too for Sophie Carmen-Jones as a slight Nini, in a nice bit of work with Elia Lo Tauro as Santiago; oh, and a quick shimmy for Timmika Ramsay as adorable La Chocolat, well named for sweetness.

Certainly it is value for money, every penny is lavished on the show as is every ounce of creative talent from all involved. If you loved the film, you’ll love this. If you didn’t, you could be convinced by the physicality of it all.

It’s satisfying enough, and probably memorable for spectacle for a while after. It’ll run years, unlike its 1983 ancestor, but for this monkey one hit of the cake was more than sufficient, though it enjoyed the slice plenty while it was happening.
 

Russell

Once again, I am pleased to report that The Monkey has got it right. 'A fine and most entertaining show.....'a genuine visual and audible spectacle. You'll find lovely sets, huge vocal talent from the top right down through the mid-level parts. In fact, some of the "second tier" cast have better voices than the stars of some other West End shows. The only problems I found with the show were that the truncated versions of the songs often seemed to be quite randomly chosen, as they often had little-to-nothing to do with the actual plot. And the logical place for the ending, at the conclusion of the final (or SHOULD have been final) dramatic song was not in fact the end. The predictable happy/clappy all-singing/all-dancing finale then ensued. No doubt, most would find this a great way to end the show....and indeed it was. But artistically, I thought it to be a bit of pandering. 'Leave 'em dancing...when the plot really dictated another ending. Still....all-in-all, a great evening of entertainment that I definitely recommend! As an amusing (if slightly cruel) aside, which will no doubt be edited out by a disapproving Monkey, I found the constant references to the beauty of the leading lady to be slightly bemusing....as she was a nice enough looking lady, but hardly a spectacular beauty. It reminded me, in fact, of Jersey Boys, in which there were constant references to the "Golden" voice of the star....only to have him open his gob and sound like a duck who had inhaled helium!

Legacy reader reviews

The standing places at the rear of the dress circle seem to be put on sale only for the next performance, and only on the ATG website. For 'Moulin Rouge,' they give a good view of the stage - in fact, you get a better view of the action on the forestage than the rows in front, because you are looking over their heads.

The overhang of the Grand Circle obstructs the upper part of the stage, but for 'Moulin Rouge' you do not lose anything significant. They are very good value, as long as you are able to stand for 2 and 3 quarter hours. The tickets are numbered, but the places are not - it is first come, first served. 
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“Royal Circle seat G29: Legroom was acceptable. View was very good.”
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"M 11, 12 and 13 - Grand Circle.
Interesting seats ... very high up, very central, very well raked.  They're like bar stools with a foot rest under the seat and they're quite high to get onto (especially if you're short!). Not sure how well you'd cope if you had any mobility issues. There is a bar in front of you which you can lean on and which didn't hinder our view. Access to the row is a bit tricky as there isn't much room to get past people and there is no centre aisle which means you're up and down a bit (on the awkward to get on to seat). However, for £25 this is a decent option and I would consider sitting here again - thank you for the tip!!

As for the show itself, I think I'm now officially juke-boxxed out.  This is a show too far for me, maybe didn't help that we went to 'We Will Rock You' the night before, but enough now!!  The set though - gorgeous, it looked stunning.
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Went to see Moulin Rouge last week (18th July 2022). We were in the stalls C19-21. Great seats, on the edge of the super expensive packages. Felt in the middle of the action, could see actors' expressions clearly but without neck craning as some further forward were doing. 

Cost was more than I usually like to pay, but for the seemingly fully immersive experience we would all have returned the next night. 
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SEAT REVIEW : STALLS ROW B Seats 10 and 11 
As the last two seats of the row these seats had a great up close view of the actors on stage whilst being far enough from the main stage area to avoid neck ache!

The view from seat 11 is unobstructed as there is no seat in front (also meaning unlimited legroom). Seat 10 has a small wall in front of it separating Row B from the cabaret table area in front. This means legroom is fairly tight, even for the 5”2’ half of us and no room for bags etc. I found seat 11 rather uncomfortable and to be honest would avoid on that basis alone if I were to return to this theatre.

Something to note for the current production - Due to the nature of the show, there is a huge amount of intimate, legs wide open “action” and at times at this close proximity to the stage my wife felt a little embarrassed. If a little shy, perhaps a seat a little further back may suit?
 

SHOW REVIEW:
SIMPLY SPECTACULAR.

As neither of us had seen the film, the only thing we knew was the fact that it would be set in the famous ‘risqué’ nightclub - we had no preconceived ideas.

As we walked down the theatre corridor and into the auditorium we were met by a literal assault on the senses! The whole auditorium has been transformed top to bottom in to the aforementioned night club with windmills, elephants, dancers, neon and evocative music - we found it truly mesmerising and immediately began to see why the ticket prices for this are so high. 

From that moment we also had high expectations about the show - we were NOT disappointed.

There really are not enough superlatives to describe this show, it is amazing. The sets, the staging, the acting, dancing and singing were all absolutely wonderful and all set to a fantastic soundtrack played at high volume by a clearly exceptional off stage band.

I won’t go into the actual plot - I don’t need to. In 30+ years of going to the theatre this was one of the most spectacular shows we have ever seen and we will DEFINITELY be popping back to the Moulin Rouge very soon.

A View From the Stalls.
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Show review
I haven’t seen Baz Lurman’s spectacular film (aside from Kylie Minogue’s ‘Absinthe Fairy’ scene), so I went into this totally unaware of what to expect.  Those expectations are set the moment you walk into the theatre.

Nothing prepares you for the onslaught on your senses.  The Piccadilly Theatre has been transformed into a Parisienne Burlesque House; everywhere you look there is so much to take in. An elephant here?  A windmill there?  Glitz, glamour, scanty costumes? Beautiful people? All abound.

And it doesn’t ease up when the show begins.  The first half is a constant assault on your already shell shocked senses, as glamorous number piles upon glamorous number upon lights, sounds, dancing… and in the midst of all this, the seeds of the plot are sewn.

Greed, debauchery, hope, tragedy and mistaken identity all feature here.  A ‘triangle amoureux’ develops, essential to the ongoing plot.

And that’s the first half!

After the interval, things calm down… well, that is, after an opening number that blasts your barely recovered senses into submission one last time… and things strip back into the ‘show within a show’ format that takes those scattered plot seeds and moves them into a more serious and dramatic conclusion.

And here is the issue.  The first half is a non-stop attack on eyes, ears and any other sensory organ.   This is stripped away so dramatically for the second you wonder if they ran out of money, energy or both.  Perhaps it is intentional, like a magic trick?  The pledge (the glamorous façade of the burlesque), the turn (behind the scenes the glamour falls away) and the prestige (the final twist where all that’s gone before is topped by the powerful and emotional finish)?

Would I see it again?  Yes I would. First visit we sat in the ‘Can Can’ seats at the very front; amazing to be, at times, in the middle of the action, but it would be good to take another view, perhaps in the dress circle.  That’s if tickets are possible to buy.  This show is doing great things at the box office and I can see why. It’s spectacular, drips with glamour and I can see it running for years.  But part of me cried out for better pacing.

Seat Review:  Stalls “Can Can” J17 and 18.
Amazing seats.  They’re essentially the front of house tables that would have existed in a burlesque of the era.  There is a stage extension that comes right out to them - at times it was hard to look without being perhaps a little too intimate with the cast! - having the cast perform around you as they came out into the aisles.  It’s an incredible experience - if you want the feel of being part of the performance go for these as opposed to the row in front (there you are even more involved, but you’ll have cast behind you and once the show starts you are trapped… get that bathroom break in before as there is no way out once the stage closes behind you!)  Be aware these are chairs rather than seats, with the according comfort issues (that said, I recall being comfortable enough).

Bob Pickett.
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Stalls S29 & 30: Brilliant show, excellent seats! I’m tall and had ample room. Good rake and sight line to the stage though the circle overhang does obscure some of the scenery. Very good value. 

I’ve mentioned before the inability of audiences to sit still for any length of time - it still persists and is now coupled with theatre staff constantly wandering up and down side aisles. Very distracting!
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I just wanted to pass on an observation about the Piccadilly Theatre dress circle, having sat in row F7-8 last night (July 2023), behind a very tall man. It seems to me that the best row to sit in for a slightly better view (apart from right at the front, in row A) is row E, as there are 4 steps up between it and row D, instead of the usual 3. The stair treads on rows B-D might also be slightly higher than those between E to F and the rows behind.
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Stalls K 21 to 23: Oh these are good! Fantastic view, rake Is enough to have no issues with the view, fairly central. No overhang, it starts from just behind this row and you seem to miss quite a lot of the top of the stage from further back in the stalls. (Obviously I didn’t / couldn’t buy these seats for the show, we went to a tech talk about the show which was fantastic). By contrast - where we sat for watching the show that evening…

... upper circle M 26 to 28 are near the end of a row on the high seats with a bar to lean on if required. Seemed fairly central, we had a clear view as it’s almost a sheer rake. You don’t miss much (if any) of the action even though you’re so far away. This is a very spectacular show, the sound up here is fantastic and it’s a good way to see the show without breaking the bank (still don’t like it much though!).
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17th January 2024.
Matinee. Stalls row N, seats 22, 23 and 24.
Walking into the auditorium you get a real wow with all the lights around and the showstopping stage set. As you are waiting for the show to start you keep noticing so many details like the champagne bar, giant elephant and windmill which has replaced the seating in the boxes.

There is an overhang above Row N but we had a perfect view of the whole stage and unusually a decent amount of leg space in front, didn't feel cramped at all. 

Every inch of the stage was filled with decadent and lavish decoration and props in every scene, it made other musicals look stark in comparison, it was truly amazing.

I had seen the film when it first came out but couldn't remember the exact storyline (my only memory is thinking how pasty Ewan McGregor was and liking songs), so, not sure how this show compares to the film; but we thoroughly enjoyed all the acting/singing/costumes and feel good song choices, never a dull moment.

If you are prudish then it's one to avoid as some of the costumes made "Chicago" outfits look tame in comparison. 
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Three visits:

Can Can A1 (January 2024). (lottery seat)
I would recommend this for repeat viewings, if you're seeing the show for the first time from here you may miss parts of the staging / interactions. This table is one of 4 which are actually blocked in by the stage at certain parts of the show, with an automatic rolling section of the stage moving in and out throughout. You'll literally get hit by some of the costumes but that's what makes this seat unmissable! The seats themselves are normal 4 legged chairs, the fact you can move them around means you get great legroom but the padding on them is non-existent.

Can Can J18 (December 2023). (lottery seat)
Great table seat, even for those who haven't seen the show before, as you get a great all round view of the stage. The seat is a regular chair which has a small wall right behind it, separating you from the rest of the stalls. Because you're at the side you can even move the seat further out for more wiggle room however it doesn't have much padding so it does get a bit uncomfortable after a while.

There's a moving section of the stage directly in front of you, meaning you get some incredible up close action. There are some moments where you have to look up, but with most of the action on the main stage my neck never hurt having to look up for too long.

Dress Circle H30 (November 2023).
In terms of the stage, you can see most of it including the sidewalks. The only part you do miss is the very top of the stage but not too much happens there and you can easily walk down before / after the show to see the full decorations on display. The legroom is great too.
 

KC.
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Royal Circle, Seats H6 & H7
First off, what a show! one of our favourites.

Second, these were really great seats, just off centre with a really clear view of everything, including the top of the stage. The overhang doesn't get in the way at all and the rake is sufficient that you're not looking around heads too much (although there was a 6ft+ gentlemen a couple of seats to our left in the row in front and I fancy that could have been an issue). Leg room was fine although a little confined for taller guests...I think the row in front was the next price up and I do not think they would be worth the extra outlay.

Theatre Monkey
Whenever I am about to book seats for any show, I always take a look on the Theatre Monkey site. Year after year, this incredible site provides such amazing information to patrons and has saved me money and also saved me sitting in over-priced seats. I cannot speak highly enough of these guys and thanks so much for everything they do.

Rich W.
 

 

 

The monkey advises checking performance times on your tickets and that performances are happening as scheduled, before travelling.

Monday to Friday at 7.30pm
Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm

Runs 2 hours 35 minutes approximately. 

WHERE TO BUY TICKETS / "BUY OR AVOID" SEAT GUIDE

Theatres use "dynamic pricing." Seat prices change according to demand for a particular performance. Prices below were compiled as booking originally opened. Current prices are advised at time of enquiry.

Monday to Thursday "Off Peak" performances (prices run according to demand)

Piccadilly Theatre price seating plan Monday to Thursday

OR

Piccadilly Theatre price seating plan Monday to Thursday

Friday and Saturday "Off Peak" performances

Piccadilly Theatre price seating plan Friday and Saturday

Peak Date performances

Piccadilly Theatre price seating plan Peak Dates

Note that cabaret table seats cannot be purchased individually, you must by the whole table of 2 or 3 tickets. Rules apply to those seated here, see the official website for details. Table seats can be purchased, first come, first served every Friday at 12 noon for the coming week's performances at www.londontheatre.co.uk.

£29 Bohemian Seats: Enter online at: moulinrougemusical.co.uk/bohemianseats. Register on the page at any time. Each Friday at 11am an email is sent out. Click it and enter the "waiting room". At noon you will be assigned a random place in the line. Those reaching the front while tickets are available can buy up to 2 seats for any date with Bohemian Seats available in the following week. Tickets may be anywhere in the theatre.

 

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