Photo by Don Kellogg

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Comet of 1812

It's a grand party in a glamorous pop-up cabaret tent right here on Broadway, freshly moved uptown from the Meatpacking district.  One would think the edgy, avant-garde performance style fits best downtown, but clearly the producers are bucking the entrenched Broadway traditions!

The Kazino (the casino) as it's called, is a supper club draped in velvet and adorned with glamorous chandelier lights.   The show takes place throughout the performance space which is dotted with the tables of patrons.  The orchestra is a band located throughout the theatre and the action takes place all around and amongst the patrons who are enjoying wine, cheese and other Russian delights which can be supplemented (read $$$$) with other menu items.

The story comes from an audacious book - War and Peace.  But in reality it's really nothing more than a tele-novella or a lifetime movie,  Girl is left alone by her boyfriend who is off to war.  Girl meets new boy and new boy romances her.  Girl realizes her delicate situation and tries to kill herself but does not succeed.  Boy returns from war.  Longtime friend of girl professes his love for her.  And so goes the evening as a comet descends on the planet.

A+ for performance space and immersive approach to telling the story - no spoken word rather all sung! Not quite as high a grade for the story itself however.  It seems unnecessarily drawn out (perhaps like the book from whence it came).

Overall, the show was magnificent and the evening was an entertainment success but I was left wondering why the story was not as dazzling as the cast, costumes, vocals, band, and venue itself.

Maybe I'll write a letter.