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REVIEW: LIFE OF PI (Wyndham’s Theatre)



Yann Martel’s Life Of Pi was first revealed in 2001. Since its debut, the novel has bought over ten million copies worldwide, received the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and has been tailored into a significant function movie directed by Ang Lee. In 2019, Lolita Chakrabarti’s stage adaptation premiered on the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield earlier than transferring to the Wyndham’s Theatre in London’s West Finish in November 2021. Profitable 5 Olivier Awards (together with Finest New Play), 5 UK Theatre Awards (together with Finest New Play) and Finest New Play on the WhatsOnStage Awards, Chakrabarti’s stage adaption was successful with audiences and critics alike. Persevering with it’s London run at Wyndham’s Theatre, Lifetime of Pi welcomes a brand new forged to inform Pi’s extraordinary story of survival and the human spirit.

Lifetime of Pi revolves round Pi and his household who pack up their zoo, the animals and household onto a ship to Canada to flee Indira Gandhi’s Emergency within the 70s. After a horrible storm the cargo ship sinks in the midst of the huge Pacific Ocean, and Pi is stranded on a lifeboat with 4 different survivors – a hyena, a zebra, an orang-utan and a Royal Bengal tiger. Time is towards them and nature is harsh. Who will survive?

Max Webster directs the brand new forged of Nuwan Hugh Perera (Amelie, Godspell, Mama Mia! Right here we Go Once more) as Pi, Davina Moon (Privates on Parade, Annie Get Your Gun, Miss Saigon) as Ma, Ameet Chana (EastEnders, Bend It Like Beckham, Run Fatboy Run) as Father, Tanvi Virmani (The Tempest) as Rani, Saikat Ahamad (Peter Pan, Treasure Island) as Mamaji/Pandit-Ji, Sakuntala Ramanee (East Is East, Coronation Avenue, EastEnders) as Mrs Biology Kumar/Zaida Khan, Kevin Shen (Yellow Face, The Christmas Prince: A Royal Child) as Mr Okamoto, Phyllis Ho (Giraffes Can’t Dance, The Vagina Monologues) as Lulu Chen, Kazeem Tosin Amore (The Play That Goes Unsuitable, A Streetcar Named Want) as Cook dinner/Voice of Richard Parker.

New puppeteers becoming a member of the forged are Owain Gwynn (The Ocean At The Finish Of The Lane, The Mild Princess, Battle Horse), Rebecca Killick (Battle Horse, The Worst Witch) and Elan James (The Play That Goes Unsuitable, Battle Horse). They be part of authentic West Finish forged members Tom Espiner (Berberian Sound Studio, Kursk) as Father Martin/Commander Grant-Jones and puppeteers: Daisy Franks (The Grotesque Twosome, Rocket Lady), Romina Hytten (The Lorax, Working Wild), Tom Larkin (An Inspector Calls, Battle Horse) and Tom Stacy (Battle Horse, The Marked).

Having coated Pi because the play opened on the West Finish, Nuwan Hugh Perera now steps into the position full time bringing a youthful, playfulness to the position. Not leaving the stage all through the present, Perera’s power by no means faltered as he navigated the highs and lows of Pi’s story with extraordinary emotional maturity. His co-star, the life-sized nice Bengal tiger Richard Parker, was delivered to life by a rotation of the superb puppeteers Owain Gwynn, Daisy Franks, Romina Hytten, Elan James, Rebecca Killick, Tom Larkin, Tom Stacy and Kazeem Tosin Amore. Richard Parker is as harmful as he’s essential and it’s simple to see why the unique puppeteers collectively received an Olivier Award for Finest Actor In A Supporting Function. As an ensemble, the forged work nicely collectively to create a world for Pi that’s heart-breakingly misplaced because the play progresses and Pi’s story begins to unfold.

Introduced on a thrust stage into the center of Wyndham’s Theatre, Lifetime of Pi is visually beautiful all through. Bringing the animals to life are Nick Barnes and Finn Caldwell’s puppet design (that are extra Battle Horse than Avenue Q) and Finn Caldwell puppet actions that may go away you breathless. Tim Hatley’s set design has the stage remodeling from hospital room, to zoo, to market place, to lifeboat and the huge strangeness of the ocean inside moments. An impressed set design that saved shocking nicely into the second act with moments of “how did they do this?” that had been completely excellent. Tim Lutkin’s lighting design expertly punctuated and complimented the set whereas additionally giving some wow moments of it’s personal. Whereas Andrzej Goulding’s stage encompassing video design introduced all the things collectively. Providing time and place subtitles ingeniously positioned all through, storms which threw water, the forged and animals across the stage, crashing waves, faculties of translucent fish, rain, stars and even submerged the stage below the ocean, Goulding’s design was fully emotionally and visually engrossing. The transcendence felt when all these components got here collectively was in contrast to anything presently on the West Finish and introduced tears to my eyes all through the night.

Lifetime of Pi presently has plans for a North American premiere in December of this yr in addition to an anticipated switch to Broadway and separate productions in Asia, Australia and Mexico within the works. Presently taking part in Wyndham’s Theatre, be certain to see this visually beautiful and touching manufacturing when you can earlier than it leaves London’s shores and concurs the world.

★★★★★

Reviewed by Stuart James

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