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Theater Review: 'Natasha Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812' -- 3 stars

Dave Malloy in "Natasha, Pierre and the Great

Dave Malloy in "Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812" Credit: Dave Malloy in "Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812"

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
3 stars

Whereas many shows tend to lose some of their luster when transferred to a larger venue, “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812,” Dave Malloy’s festive and sexy electro-pop opera based on a small slice of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace,” plays better at Kazino than it did a few months ago at the more intimate Ars Nova.

Kazino is a tall, velvet-draped, tent-like structure that was constructed especially for this production. It is currently parked in the Meatpacking District around the High Line and could probably be moved elsewhere if needed.

Whereas theatergoers received free shots of vodka during the Ars Nova run, they are now treated to a buffet-style dinner — along with a higher ticket price.

At the start of the piece, the spirited cast welcomes the audience and warns them in a playful opening song that the show is based on “a complicated Russian novel.” They proceed to introduce each character in a sung-through synopsis.

The plot itself is actually rather straightforward: girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl is sad. And while the innocent Natasha (Phillipa Soo) and the hunky Anatole (Lucas Steele) are falling for each other, the aristocrat Pierre (Malloy) indulges in existentialist philosophy, wine and a duel.

Since there is no traditional stage, the action takes place in the aisles, in between tables where the audience is seated, or on side platforms. The musicians are scattered throughout the space, creating an immersive soundscape that nicely compliments the 360 degree visual concept.

Yet despite the incredible ingenuity of director Rachel Chavkin, the show often slows down in pace and intensity, getting bogged down in details. But with enough vodka in your system, you might not care.”

“Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” plays at Kazino through Sept 1. Washington St. and West 13th St.

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