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Review: NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 at Shotgun Players

Review: NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 at Shotgun Players

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 runs through January 15, 2023.

Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812

Written by Dave Malloy

Directed by Patrick Dooley and Erin Mei-Ling Stuart

Shotgun Players

Scenic designer Nina Ball's opulent transformation of the Ashby Stage into an elegant Russian nightclub is a key element of Shotgun Players 30th season finale production of Dave Malloy's opus Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. Loosely based on characters from Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace and anchored by Malloy's electropop score, the Great Comet is a robust, audience immersive pastiche of romantic shenanigans by 19th century Russian aristocracy that are just as contemporary as if written today.

Review: NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 at Shotgun Players
Anatole (Nick Rodrigues) woos Natasha (Angel Adedokun)

This West Coast premiere is as ambitious as its source material. Actors appear offstage, the band is split into three sections and the vodka flows in this free-wheeling experience. The talented ensemble give it their all, both in the individual and group numbers. Jasmine Milan William's costumes, choreography by co-director Erin Mei-Ling Stuart and Daniel Alley's musical direction support the cast in maneuvering through Malloy's multi-genre score that flirts with pop, R&B and ballads.

Review: NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 at Shotgun Players
Albert Hodge as Pierre

Natasha (Jacqueline Dennis) is pining for her betrothed - a soldier fighting Napoleons' French invaders. Introduced to Moscow's elite social circles, she becomes enamored with the notorious rogue Anatole (Nick Rodrigues) who woos and wins her heart. It's a scandal for sure and its left for the bewildered and cuckolded Pierre (Albert Hodge) to come to her aid.

Review: NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 at Shotgun Players
Nina Ball's stunning set design

Dennis, Hodge, and Rodrigues give standout performances, supported by Angel Adedokun as the floozy Helene, Veronica Renner as Natasha's cousin Sonya, and Michele Ianiro as the grand dame Marya. The sung-through score changes directions from pop to Russian folk to spoken exposition atypical of standard Broadway fare. War and Peace, first serialized in newspapers, can be seen as one of the first of the grand soap operas in literature and The Great Comet continues that impression. Settle back, don't keep a character scoreboard and enjoy the frivolity and drama.

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 continues through January 15, 2023. Tickets available at https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2210560®id=18&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Fshotgunplayers.org%2Fonline%2Farticle%2Fgreat-comet?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1 or by calling 510.841.6500, ext. 303.

Photo credit: Ben Krantz



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From This Author - Steve Murray

Steve Murray is a writer for Cabaret Scenes magazine, contributor to ForAllEvents and now BroadwayWorld. He started writing rock reviews for his college newspaper in the 1970’s, produced a va... (read more about this author)


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