The Great Comet at Kazino

Last night I saw one of the most riveting pieces of immersive theater at the pop-up shop, known as the Kazino Theater.  The Kazino lies at the end of W 13th Street, in the heat of the Meatpacking district, below the towering Standard Hotel.

standard nycWe got the area early to watch the sunset on the High Line Park, and then strolled into 19th Century Russia…

kazinoI recommend reading the NY Times review, or the 5-star Time Out review for a more captivating summary of the show than I will be able to give, but definitely make time to visit to this cabaret-style evening of entertainment.

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From the moment you walk in to the temporary structure, you are struck by the intricate decor throughout.  The intimate setting immediately transports you to another time, another place, another self.  We were a group of 2 only, so being seated at a table for 4 in the “hot zone” meant both getting to know our table-mates, as well as feeling almost part of the show.  The actors walked around us, sat at our table, brushed our shoulders, ran their fingers through our hair — all in a very tasteful and inviting way.  This is not a cheesy murder-mystery dinner show, I promise you.  This is an artistically beautiful night out at a very modern theater.

A light meal is served throughout the night.  I should stress the light part — because if you are a big eater, you best come well-stuffed.  Let’s put it this way, the flights of vodka shots we did were not nearly absorbed by the mere meal we were served.  They do offer a pricey a-la-carte menu for those interested in the addon costs. The show starts at 9:30.  We arrived by 9:00 to be seated, which allowed time for a small russian appetizer and a cocktail.

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The food, although small in quantity, was decent in quality.  It is NOT the star of the show, however, and rightly so.  Delicious and abundant food would have made following the story challenging, and taken away from the experience itself. The show is based on a section of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, and set in 1812 in Moscow.  The music was perhaps what pleased me the most.  It was phenomenal.   I was expecting a more traditional Russian repertoire, but got a bit of everything — modern Russian folk, electronica, operetta, and definitely bouts of classical.

The first half runs 1.5 hours, and a light meal is served at intermission.  The second half runs about an hour, making the entire evening run until almost midnight.  Worth every moment.

It is only running through September 1st, 2013 — so go see it!