By Nouran Maamoun
On two of the hottest, most humid nights Cairo has ever seen, and in the heart of a sandstorm, the weather at the Cairo Opera House on 7 and 8 September was otherwise filled with the mesmerising vibe of the Moulin Rouge.
The musical play was a reproduction of the timeless story of the Moulin Rouge, which was immortalised by the famous film of the same name in 2001, and was later staged at Broadway. “The story is about love” was the memorable starting line of the show.
The plot of the Moulin Rouge is the love between a young talented poet/writer named Christian, played by Eduard Cousin, and the breathtaking courtesan Satine, played by May Elghaba. This love, however, is fiercely fought by a Duke, who also loves Satine and wants her for himself, and is willing to do anything to stop her from being with Christian, to the point that he even threatens to kill him.
All the problems and obstacles that face the young lovers, however, were not able to destroy their love or make them give up on each other. All but one; death. The terminal illness of the beautiful Satine leads to her untimely and devastating death in the arms of her love.
The play, however, is not all tragic, as there are many vibrant moments and very exciting and upbeat dance routines. These dances, along with the songs, the acting, the costumes, direction by Rewan Elghaba, and the overall performance of the crew were all extremely praised by most of the audience. However, some of the attendees expressed their disappointment that the actors were lip-syncing, rather than singing live. Others had hoped that the play was different from the film, and not a mere remaking.
The play began shortly after 8pm and ended a little before 10pm. This short period came as a bit of a surprise; however, it guaranteed that there was not a minute of boredom or a hint of over-stretched scenes.
People were very excited about the play even before seeing it, as the reputation of the story precedes it. Tickets were all sold out days before the show, and it was a full house on the nights of performance.
The most stunning performances in the play were by Magdy El-Beheiry, who played the owner of the Moulin Rouge, Harold Zidler, and Alaa Nour, who played the Duke.
The cast and crew of the Moulin Rouge Musical Play are a group of art students, conservatoire dancers and young actors and singers, who came together to perform this play a year ago in the Sayed Darwish theatre at the Art Academy in Haram, and this year at the Cairo Opera House.