'The Life of Pi' review: A dazzling show
A Man Booker prize winning novel, an Oscar winning film and now after two-years in the making the brilliant Lolita Chakrabarti has adopted this classic book into a breathtaking Westend stage production. As soon as the curtain went up we were immediately drawn into this turbulent tale of endurance, loss but most importantly hope.
After the sinking of a cargo ship deep in the middle of the Pacific Ocean this gripping production follows the journey of an Indian zoo keepers son, claiming to have survived a shipwreck in a life-boat full of beasts. Hiran Abeysekera's performance as 16 year-old Pi is staggering but the real stars of the show are the menagerie of large-scale puppet animals. Two zebras, a giraffe, a gorilla, flying fish, a hyena, a turtle and of course Richard Parker the ferocious Bengal Tiger. With six puppeteers controlling every twitch, snarl and pounce his movements across stage are utterly mesmerising. As with 'War Horse' after a while you see through the crouched human forms and just see the iridescent flying fish, the majestic turtle and the ravenous hyena in their true animal form.
The staging of the production flipping from hospital bed to the tossing and battered life-boat swirling through storming seas is just incredible. The boat seamlessly rises out of the stage as if by magic with video and special lighting effects transforming the whole stage into a watery wasteland. Look out for Pi's acrobatic jump into the water ?!
One of the most visually stunning shows we have seen, we didn't want it to end.....
This is theatre at its best.
By Julia Colls 27 January 2022
Monday, Wednesday - Saturday: 7:30pm
Thursday & Saturday matinees: 2:30pm
Sunday matinees: 3:00pm
Tickets from £27.50
Running time 2 hours 5 mins
Booking to 24 July
Good availability over February Half Term