It's been a while since I've done a first night post but if there was ever a reason to do one, it has to be for the biggest new show in town which finally opened its doors, later than planned, for its first preview tonight. Having taken Broadway by storm, Moulin Rouge has now set its sights on the West End, beginning what looks set to be a long run at the Piccadilly Theatre.
As with my other 1st night posts this will be a picture heavy look at the theatre, the stage and the curtain call with little bits of information about the show. If you're waiting for my actual review, you'll have to wait until after the official press night for that!
The Piccadilly Theatre has never been the most exciting of theatres exterior wise. Moulin Rouge have done the impossible and made it look interesting with red lights and a moving windwill taking your breath away as soon as you approach it:
If you think that's exciting, wait until you set foot inside the theatre. Walking in, you are greeted with what I believe to be the greatest stage there is. Elaborate and grand, the details don't stop with the stage, with beautiful decor all around the theatre:
So... let's talk about the elephant in the room...
Here it is.
The merchandise was pretty fabulous too:
The keyring is exclusive to London. Each production of Moulin Rouge has its own version as part of a collection:
I may have splurged a little bit. Here's me and my partner modelling our new t-shirts. They may be better fitted for women but who honestly cares?
Obviously I went for the glittery one. What else?
Much has been reported of the Covid safety measures at Moulin Rouge as they have made it mandatory to wear masks. Obviously the usual exemptions apply, but they were enforcing it upon entry. That didn't stop a few idiots taking them off during the show and leaving them off, of course, but generally there were a lot more mask wearers than most West End shows. Upon entry you have to show a Covid pass too so in general this was one of the safest theatre experiences I've seen in a while.
Some of the cast members wander around the stage and various parts of the theatre before the show starts so make sure you're in your seat from 7.15 to get your first glimpse of the fantastic costumes
For the seating, I was in row B of the stalls which was technically front row behind the table seats and a row of seats by the catwalk - in front of a divide.
My view was mostly uninterrupted though if a tall person is sat in row A, there is no rake so you may be slightly obscured. From what I could see, I wouldn't want to sit in the table seats though - you spend a lot of the show turning back and forth to see all the action around the sides of the stage and the catwalk.
This is a show probably best observed from the circle to see the full spectacle though generally front of stalls was pretty great - and immersive!
On to the actual show...
I won't review shows while they're in previews, so check back next month to see my thorough thoughts on it.
However, I can tell you I was well and truly blown away.
Every element was superb - the staging, costumes, lighting, songs, choreography. All phenomenal.
The cast are ridiculously talented with Jamie Bogyo unbelievably making his professional debut as Christian and making himself a serious contender for an Olivier award. Liisi LaFontaine is an incredible Satine with an expert cast surrounding her including Jason Pennycooke, Clive Carter, Simon Bailey and Zoe Birkett.
There were a couple of first night mishaps. Clive walked into a chair that collapsed but he improvised it brilliantly, and one of Liisi's quick changes wasn't so quick as she couldn't get the dress off her arms - she handled it brilliantly though with none of the cast missing a beat.
I could talk about why I loved this show so much at length but I'll save that for my actual review.
Here are some pictures of the brilliant cast at curtain call:
So there you have it. The West End has a glittering new addition to its already impressive lineup. Believe me when I say you NEED to see this show.
Welcome to the West End, Moulin Rouge. Long may you stay!
Tickets for Moulin Rouge are available from https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/moulin-rouge-the-musical/piccadilly-theatre