Confession: Why I didn’t love the Moulin Rouge

Paris is overwhelming. In only two weeks it is impossible to see everything on your list (unless you have a really minimalist list). I didn’t make it to the Moulin Rouge the first time round and I’d always regretted it. When I went back to study last summer, it was on the top of my list and I had pretty high expectations.

Why I didn't like the Moulin Rouge

Seeing the famous Can-Can was cool. The stage and the costumes were dazzlingly glamorous. I loved the side acts; from the woman swimming in the giant tank full of water snakes. The brave couple doing nail-bitingly insane acrobatics. The cute old man with his comedy skit where he included the audience. Adorable and hilarious at once! But the dancing? I was a little disappointed.

Maybe they were having an off-night. They weren’t in sync with each other, which is part of the beauty of professional dancing – when everyone moves in sync, it looks incredible. If it was a very complex routine, I might have felt differently, but even the routine itself was a little bit boring. It hasn’t been updated since the 1990s so maybe it’s just a little dated.

Of course, it’s easy to judge from the comfort of the audience and no doubt they are all very talented professional dancers, but I still walked away feeling that  the Moulin Rouge was a little overrated.

Why I didn't like the Moulin Rouge

Despite this, how can you not go? We had the ‘show + champagne package’ which was a nice touch. There is a show + dinner package, but I’ve heard the food is pretty so-so for the price. We ate at a little restaurant beforehand in Montmartre within walking distance, which meant we could start our night with whatever dinner, dessert and drinks that we wanted.

The atmosphere inside the theatre was great and you could feel the excitement in the room. It’s a show that is famous the world over and has delighted and sometimes shocked audiences for years. I’m glad I can say I’ve been and have my own opinion on it now. Some people really loved it too – one of my best friends in Brisbane, Mel, went the night I didn’t go in January and loved it. She did get called up on the stage to be part of the old man’s skit though, so it was definitely a night to remember! Another friend from Sydney who was studying with me in Paris came with us to see it for the second time because she loved it so much. She’s also a dancer, so I’d say her evaluation of the show is a lot more informed than mine!

I liked the flamenco in Barcelona more, because even though there was little synchronisation, they didn’t need it. It was already captivating because the dancers were so caught up in telling their story. The French like to perfect, and it’s a wonderful part of their culture. The flamenco had passion. Even though at the time I wasn’t wowed by the choreography, in hindsight I can appreciate the passion in the flamenco more than the polished Moulin Rouge.

A note: It’s first in best dressed for seats inside the theatre, so get there early and just wait outside. The security guard told us we had ages and not to bother lining up yet. Went down the street to O’Sullivans, came back after one drink and the line was huge!

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