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Moulin Rouge – Timeless Venue Surprises

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By Julius Grafton.

We’re always impressed by acrobats, and contortionists. 60 beautiful men and bare breasted women wearing exquisite costumes and makeup, dancing just in front of our table was most excellent.

But when the stage rolled away to reveal a glass swimming pool I thought ‘Good! Here goes some synchronized water nymph routine. Until I saw the fraking enormous pythons swimming and looping like enormous ribbons. Then the girl dived in.

By now that pool is jacked up so everyone can see, and if you weren’t expecting this then we’ve just spoiled the surprise we felt. It was a highlight of a ninety minute show that produced plenty of eye candy.

Established 1889, the place burned down in 1915 and now has 800 seats, each facing a beautifully dressed and set table with the iconic little red lamps. It is a tight pitch, but somehow the wait staff navigate and dish up three courses in brisk time.

We paid 198 Euro for a middle priced dinner and meal, and were quite satisfied with the (limited)  choices and the half bottle of champagne (each) that were included.

A fairly generic dinner band did some low key music, with drums, bass, keys and oddly sax. A cheesy guy and a brassy older woman alternated singing and then worked together at the end.

Dinner done and showtime – yes it is tits and feathers, and mostly mime to playback but some of the leads do sing live. I completely ignored the lights and the sound, which means they were exactly right enough not to make me think about them.

Did I mention they had ponies? Presumably not fed yet, since they didn’t disgrace themselves. Sadly no dwarfs. And cleverly, a lion scene was set where we were totally expecting a beast to appear, but instead got some of the Dorris dancers dressed as lions. Some of the dancers have very Australian names, apparently it is a rite of passage to come and dance here or at one of the other Paris shows.

Yes it was a little fromage, a bit silly, a lot of hard work (for them) and an absolute hoot for our little table of Australians. As we left at about 11pm, they were lining up the crowd for a late show.

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