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Review of Life of Pi at Theatre Royal, Norwich: Show is spellbounding journey of survival, self belief and personal courage





Life of Pi – Theatre Royal, Norwich

This multi-award-winning production, based on the equally successful 2001 Yann Martel novel, is a spellbounding journey of survival, self belief and personal courage, and Divesh Subaskaran as the complicated teenage Indian boy, Pi, has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders in his first professional role.

But he is superb as he tells Pi's fantastical shipwreck story and leaves it up to the audience to decide where fact and fiction begin and end.

Habib Nasib Nader (Cook), Tom Larkin (Tiger Head) and Scarlet Wilderink (Tiger Heart). Picture: Johan Persson
Habib Nasib Nader (Cook), Tom Larkin (Tiger Head) and Scarlet Wilderink (Tiger Heart). Picture: Johan Persson
Hiran Abeysekera (Pi), Tom Larkin (Tiger Head) and Nicholas Khan (Pi's Father) in Life Of Pi. Picture: Johan Persson
Hiran Abeysekera (Pi), Tom Larkin (Tiger Head) and Nicholas Khan (Pi's Father) in Life Of Pi. Picture: Johan Persson

Has he really been joined by a tiger, a zebra, a hyena and an orangutan on his terrifying journey to safety, or are they just his mind's representations of actual humans?

It's up to you to choose your own version of reality!

Mention must go to the puppets which are simply amazing and almost steal the show and the whole set - the lighting, sound and so on - are so effective, audience members complained of feeling seasick!

Hiran Abeysekera (Pi) and Life of Pi company. Picture: Johan Persson
Hiran Abeysekera (Pi) and Life of Pi company. Picture: Johan Persson
Hiran Abeysekera (Pi) and Tom Larkin (Tiger Head) in Life Of Pi. Picture: Johan Persson
Hiran Abeysekera (Pi) and Tom Larkin (Tiger Head) in Life Of Pi. Picture: Johan Persson

While the plot is deep and meaningful and the subject matter is meaty, Pi has some wonderfully funny lines and there are some lovely interactions between him and his family members so there are some much-needed lighter moments.

This is a really well-crafted play, with some beautiful acting, and a central theme of staying true to yourself, no matter what. I loved it!

The show continues until Saturday. Visit www.norwichtheatre.org

Hiran Abeysekera (Pi) in Life of Pi. Picture: Johan Persson
Hiran Abeysekera (Pi) in Life of Pi. Picture: Johan Persson
Hiran Abeysekera (Pi) with members of the Life of Pi company. Picture: Johan Persson
Hiran Abeysekera (Pi) with members of the Life of Pi company. Picture: Johan Persson

Review by Sarah Hardy



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