The ‘Life of Pi’ is a masterpiece of theatre. It’s stupendifying and brilliant on every level. From the amazing sets, to the fantastic story, to the great acting – it’s a show that will not only take your breathe away but will also enthrall and entertain you.
Based on the 2001 book ‘Life of Pi’ by Canadian Yann Martel (and turned into a 2012 movie directed by Ang Lee, winning 4 Academy Awards), the story revolves around 16 year old Pi (Piscine) – played by Hiran Abeysekera, an Indian boy who is the only survivor of a shipwreck and who survives on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal Tiger (named by Pi as Richard Parker).
But the brilliant narrative of the show flips back and forth from when Pi is in a Mexican hospital being overseen by two Canadian psychiatric investigators in 1979 and the telling of how he got there, to how Pi and his family had a zoo and acquired said Bengal tiger, and how they packed it all up to go to Canada on said ship. But things don’t go as expected. After the shipwreck that kills his whole entire family there are only five survivors; Pi, Richard Parker, a hyena, a zebra and an orangutang. But are these actual animals or a figment of Pi’s imagination? What did he really experience, and see, while he was stranded on the lifeboat? And what caused the ship to sink? This is what the investigators want to find out.
‘Life of Pi’ is an epic adaptation of the book and movie. The sets change almost constantly, from the hospital room to the zoo, to a busy street market, and to the life raft that Pi is stuck on. And the animals are cleverly held and manipulated by human handlers – you almost don’t notice the humans because the animals seem so real. But it’s Abeysekera who spellbinds us with his performance. Literally leapfrogging from bed to the boat to the zoo and everywhere in between, Abeysekera gives an epic performance in a show, that while only runs for just over two hours, is one that will stick with you for a long time to come.
‘The Life of Pi’ is one of the most amazing shows to hit the West End in years, it is simply fantastic and Abeysekera is superb.
Now playing at the Wyndham Theatre until May 29, 2022.