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Moulin Scrooge!

Written by Phil Scott and Trevor Ashley

Directed by Trevor Ashley

Seymour Centre Reginald Theatre until December 18

Photo Credit John McRae

Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP

Trevor Ashley and Phil Scott have taken Dickens’ favourite Christmas tale, put it to music, turned it upside-down, spun it around a few times, dressed it in sequins, feathers, wigs and high heels, and brought Carlotta in for better than good measure.

The story is set in Moulin Beige, a Kings Cross club that has fallen on hard times. Sat-on (Trevor Ashley) is the star of the shows and she needs to come up with something that will save the club. The owner, Astrid Zeneca (Carlotta), is an ageing, jaded, cynical drag queen.

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The possible financial saviour is the Duke of York (Stephen Madsen) who, in pantomime fashion, enters looking like Dick Dastardly. The Duke has an appetite for sex and he sweats a lot.

In the sub-plot, Too-Loose Lautrec (Jakob Ambrose) and You-in McGregor (Jarrod Moore) devise an idea for a low-budget show. In the dance spots, it’s amazing that these triple threats can do so much on the small stage.

There are a hundred theatrical “in” jokes and edgy topical references. If you’re familiar with the history of Kings Cross, your experience will be so much richer. The Juanita Nielsen aside is worth the price of admission.

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There are some bits that could be described as “stocking fillers”, but when you have the audience onside, they’re onside for everything.

A highlight is Carlotta’s interaction with the audience. It’s just like being at Les Girls when she compered the shows back in the day. She still has the wit, the spontaneity and the timing.

Trevor Ashley’s deep admiration, affection and respect for Carlotta, though not stated in words, is truly apparent in this production. It comes through the fact that Ashley has Carlotta wearing the most spectacular costumes in the show, and her solo bits aren’t to facilitate Ashley’s costume changes but to remind us of the talent that audiences have been enjoying for sixty years. The bitchy exchanges are delicious.

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It speaks volumes for Trevor Ashley as a performer, producer and director that he not only includes and pays tribute to the legendary, ground-breaking entertainer that is Carlotta, but has her front and centre in featured solo spots that have no distractions. He ensures that all eyes are on Carlotta whose autobiographical rendition of I’m Still Here is superb.

Moulin Scrooge! Is special.


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