By Talia Carlisle

Invite out your friends and put on your best faux fur, because Witch Music Theatre is back in town. Don’t let the cold weather stop you from experiencing the best night out this side of Broadway, with Wellington’s own revolution of musical genius onstage at Hannah Playhouse until Saturday.

Following a memorable and magical season of Into The Woods last year, comes the incomparable and award-winning work of composer Dave Malloy in The New Zealand premiere of Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.

This musical adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace is nothing you would expect from a war novel, and everything you could want in an escape from everyday Wellington to the opulent backdrop of 19th-century Russia.

There arises from the ashes of war our talk of the town, Natasha Rostova, new in Moscow, and ready to reunite with her battle-worn fiancé… but adventures await them both and the musical mayhem begins!

Showcasing the finest musical talent Wellington has seen, it’s the perfect captivating and heart warming show this winter with glorious music, boundless energy, satin and charm with dance moves and harmonies to lift anyone’s spirits.

The passion to bring this show to life, and get the rights for this riotous affair is a love story of its own that Witch Music Theatre was determined to succeed in. As a result, they are the first to stage it in New Zealand, and describe the opportunity as “a dream come true”.

It’s a dream for us all in the audience, being instantly transported from the glam up of Hannah Playhouse to the high society party playground of Russia, a lighting feat by operator Scott Maxim, programmed by Technical Producer Joshua Tucker-Emerson, that looks effortless and jaw-dropping, no doubt influenced by Creative Producer Ben Tucker-Emerson (who also designed the gorgeous costumes).

Moving chandeliers make up their own member of the cast, lifting and dropping with dramatic effect, and the band form part of the set and cast sprinkled like addictive fairy dust in and around the stage, pouring the most sultry tunes to carry us away with the cast.

Celebrated directors Maya Handa Naff and Nick Lerew ensure the cast are the glittering centrepiece, each worthy of hosting their own century defining party in their own musical story, with the vocals, charisma and dance moves to steal the show.

Our hearts and minds are already stolen by angelic Natasha Rostova (Lane Corby) who lays out the canvas for romance with her fiancé Andrey (multitalented genius Glenn Horsfall). Romance heats up however with bad boy Anatole (Henry Ashby), until our theatre queen, and Natasha’s fierce protector Marya (Frankie Leota) has had enough.

Everyone needs a guardian angel and she arrives tonight, always on time, with perfect pitching, enunciation and heavenly hugs. Her presence calms, and her solo pours into our souls.

Natasha is adored and doted on by her protective cousin, Sonya (Ãine Gallagher), who shines brighter than any comet in the heart stealing Sonya Alone.

Reaching highest of heights close to that is aerialist Jackson Cordery who masterfully manipulates his body and talent to wow the room, before slipping back into the incredible party. I can’t help but notice my fellows from previous Wellington Footlights Society productions, Kirsty Huszka, Kevin Orlando, and Patrick Jennings who blow me away with every show they do.

I also enjoy Rachel McSweeney as Mary, the spinster daughter of Prince Bolonsky who hosts our guests most sweetly, and multi-musical Pierre (William Duignan) amazes us with his musicality, backed up by a whole orchestra including the most inspiring oboe solo by Calvin Scott.

For a jaw-dropping low price of $36-56, including newly released balcony seats, this show is a steal for perfected musical romance which combines the musical worlds and genres of Oz, Abba, Chicago and Cirque de Soleil.

You can’t find more beautiful music than that led by musical director Hayden Taylor, synchronised perfectly into art by choreographers Greta Casey-Solly (Te Atiawa) and Emily McDermott.

If you’re more fashion inclined, there are tantalising textures of silk, velvet, mesh, frills, lace and leather. But whatever your tastes, your best memories will include Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 – if you snap up the chance to see it. There’s only a few tickets left for Friday, so you may need a rocket to get there, but the places this musical will take you are out of this world.