Le Burlesque et Moulin

Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street, Wellington

04/10/2012 - 10/10/2012

Production Details

From the team that brought you A Trip Across The Universe: Music and Lyrics by The Beatles comes Le Burlesque Au Moulin Rouge.

Set in the Jardin de Paris, at the foot of the Montmarte Hill, Le Burlesque Au Moulin Rouge is a tale of caution. “A story about love…”, it follows a young artist’s trip halfway around the globe to discover life. He’s immediately immersed into the Bohemian Culture, the mysterious drink absinthe and the ecstasies and dangers of the Burlesque Lounge at the famous Moulin Rouge.

Le Burlesque Au Moulin Rouge features songs from both films including Lady Marmalade, Your Song, Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend, The Show Must Go On, But I’m A Good Girl, Something’s Got A Hold Of Me and many more!

Dates: 4-13 October, 7.30pm
Venue: Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street 
No Show Sunday/Monday.


  • Standard: $25.00
  • Tertiary students (ID required), Senior (65+ with Gold Card): $20.00
  • Equity/NZAG (with membership card): $18.00
  • Premium (cafe style seating, 2 seats and a bottle of wine): $65.00
  • Buy Tickets – 0508 ITICKET

Ben Priest
Jesse Finn
Janelle Pollock
Ingrid Dyer
Kirsty Moir
Bonnie Riley
Jeff Bell
Sam Benton
Chris Green
Cassandra Tse
Sheree Moanaroa
Marley Araiti
Waylon Edwards

Stacey Neale
Melanie Heaphy
Hannah Bain
Asheligh Peters
Tijana Selak
Anna Henderson
Tess Munro

Director – Stuart James
Musical Director – Bruno Shirley
Choreographer – Stacey Neale
Vocal Coach – Trish Butterfield


Production Managers- Rodney Bane/ Hannah Bain Wardrobe Manager - Jesse Finn Stage Manager- Ebony Van Der Raij


90 mins

Dancers the stars of Speakeasy show

Review by Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 08th Oct 2012

While the movies Moulin Rouge and Burlesque may have had their detractors, there is no denying the singing and dancing was what made each a success.

The same can be said for Speakeasy Theatre’s production of Le Burlesque Au Moulin where they have combined the storylines of the two movies into one show.

A bohemian artiste in the Montmartre district of Paris falls for a small-town singer trying to make it big in the Paris nightclub scene, in particular at Club Le Burlesque Au Moulin. The club is suffering financial difficulties but is eventually saved by a sleazy entrepreneur who asks favours of the dancers in return for investing in the club.

Through this story they have cleverly incorporated many of the musical numbers from the two movies. But while the dialogue is rather trite in places and lacks any real punch or drama, it does hold together as a story reasonably well, especially with the song and dance routines.

There is also a clown figure that acts as a type of MC, a bit like the Toulouse-Lautrec figure in Moulin Rouge.

In this role Ben Priest is excellent, animated and engaging with his delightful French accent, as well as his superb singing voice; his two numbers Nature Boy and Complainte de la Butte are some of the standout moments in the show.

Yet Priest was underused as a performer and with more creative direction could easily have been used to link the scenes with music rather than the interminable silent blackouts that robbed the show of continuity.

Other singers of note were Janelle Pollock as the club’s Madame, Cassandra Tse as the one trying to make it into the club, Sheree Moanaroa as the bitch and Jesse Finn as the lovelorn artiste.

But the highlight of the production is the dancing and the six dancers under choreographer Stacey Neale, who also dances, create some wonderfully sassy and energised dance routines in keeping with the show’s theme, the climax and highlight being El Tango de Roxanne with Waylon Edwards as a superb Argentinian tango dancer.

This is a show that, for the most part, works and with its original concept and spirited performances provides a great evening’s entertainment.


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Poignant numbers perfectly pitched

Review by Virginia Kennard 05th Oct 2012

Speakeasy Theatre continue their musical escapades with Le Burlesque Au Moulin, a showcase of singing and dancing, though variety show would be a more appropriate term as parody, satire and female tease are absent from this work. On the other hand, there certainly is a fiesta of corsets, waistcoats and as many suspenders one would need, fulfilling the expectation that the essence of burlesque in the 21st Century is costume.

Though this is a devised script, the song choices are largely taken from Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 film Moulin Rouge and the plot follows the general narrative and characters to that film. The love between a starving artist and the beautiful star of Le Burlesque is interrupted by the attentions of the seedy new investor in the show. Petty jibes between performers and the financially strapped current proprietor are all overseen by the faded opera star father of the joint, played by Chris Green, and the various singers, dancers and waiters/artists who work and frequent the club.

It is unfortunate that the microphones fail to consistently work on opening night, as many of the songs need the volume and clarity microphones would have given. However Act Two’s opening number Something’s Got A Hold On Me, belted out by 17 year-old Marley Araiti, demonstrates the superiority of her voice over volume. The blue-haired Janelle Pollock, in the role of protagonist, sings Welcome to Burlesque, When You’re Good To Mama and the closing number, with incredible warbling power.

The dialogue is mostly superficial, providing context to the song choices or further storylines for characters who need more connectivity and less observing action unfold. Further development of the dialogue could add additional interest to events.

It is difficult to master the ‘triple threat’ of singing, dancing and acting, with the performers’ skills at the former two tending to override the latter. However, the narrator’s haunting storytelling and the earnest and dedicated ‘new girl’ character (Cassandra Tse) are engaging and adequate to requirements.

Stacey Neale has ensured a strong focus on choreography, with the many high-energy dance routines taking centre stage during song numbers. This is entertaining but the stage is too often overwhelmed with tables, instruments, and singers and dancers. It is admirable to make the most of the full cast, but the dancers would have more impact if they performed fewer routines or the dance aesthetic were more varied. It is refreshing to enjoy the varying characters of the dancers – the coquettish Anna MacDonald, and innocently saucy Melanie Heaphy are delightful against the brash Hannah Bain.

Poignant numbers One Day I’ll Fly Away and the snippets of Children of the Revolution and Let Me Be Your Star, part of Janelle’s singing monologue, are a relief from the sheer density of people on stage. Sheree Moanaroa’s intensity is perfectly pitched during One Day I’ll Fly Away and Jesse carries the clichéd inclusion of Come What May with emotional depth. The rendition of Sparkling Diamonds is a fun romp with lovely banter between Sheree and Cassandra.

Cabaret table seating is set up in the Gryphon as well as snuggled up standard seating, the cast need to make more use of these front row audience members. Hopefully once the cast relaxes into the sheer quantity of songs and routines, more audience engagement will occur and the dialogue gain cohesion.


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