Life of Pi ★★★★★ Wyndham’s Theatre | Nov 15, 2021 - May 29, 2022


The Life of Pi is the triumph of Hiran Abeysekera. His impressive Pi is never off the stage and the audience's eyes are never off him. The amazing animals created for the show are entrancing, but it is Abeysekera who dominates. He moves seamlessly from inquisitive, vulnerable child to wounded prisoner of his own memories. Readers of the novel or viewers of the film may well wonder how this story can be successfully translated to the stage, but it succeeds quite wonderfully. Lolita Chakrabarti has done a fine job of bringing the essence out of the rather prolix novel, and director, Max Webster, has paced the piece quite beautifully. Tim Hatley's set is brilliantly versatile and cunningly complemented by the video and projections of Andrzej Goulding. With Tim Lutkin's lighting they have created an extraordinary atmosphere that takes us aboard Pi's boat and allows us to share his horrifying adventure. The puppets of Finn Caldwell and Nick Barnes are inspired. From the central figure of Richard Parker, the tiger, to the fish in the sea, their presence and movement are totally credible and quite stunning. The cast is rounded out by a group of excellent actors who assume various characters as the absorbing tales of Pi's voyage come to light. Mina Anwar is an engagingly sympathetic Amma and Habib Nasib Nader is truly menacing as Cook. Kirsten Foster and David K.S. Tse are suitably brittle as the bureaucratic consular and insurance officials who interview Pi and seek his truth, only to be confounded by the complex nature of it. This is a production that succeeds on every level and merits a long run in the West End to delight and terrify its audiences!

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Johan Persson.

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