Life of Pi – the Booker Prize winner takes to the stage

A mesmerising production – utterly brilliant in every way, from the acting and puppetry to the staging, music and ingenious scene changes. Life of Pi is a must-see performance!

The Booker Prize winner of 2002 comes alive on stage in a wonderful moving theatrical performance.

The fantasy adventure tells the story of Pi who, following a violent storm at sea, finds himself stranded on a lifeboat with four companions – Richard Parker, a Bengal tiger, plus an orangutan, a zebra and a hyena.

But first you will be transported to India where Pi and his family live and own a zoo in Pondicherry. Political tensions ensue and when a political emergency is declared by Indira Gandhi, the parents decide to emigrate with their sons – and animals – to Canada leaving behind their precious home and zoo.

Life of Pi storm scene

A violent storm ensues on their journey to Canada and the story unfolds of Pi lost at sea for 227 days – challenging Pi’s world views.

A story of perseverance

This is a story of hope, of survival by perseverance telling that life can be difficult and throw up obstacles and your beliefs can be challenged – Pi, raised a Hindu, has to give up being a vegetarian to survive and a Darwinian sense of survival of the fittest pervades the boat scenes. 

Pi’s seemingly idealist, romanticised world view is shattered in the opening scene when – without giving the plot away – his parents force him to face reality in what is a shockingly emotional moment within the opening scenes. 

Debuting professional actor Divesh Subaskaran gave a standout performance, as did understudy Keshini Misha who had to take to the stage for the second half of the performance. Divesh conveyed charming naivety and vulnerability, while Keshini portrayed a grittier and credible Pi. 

The puppetry throughout was ingenious – brilliantly manoeuvred and credible, leading you to a whole host of emotions from shock, laughter and even tears.

The book which sold over 15 million copies was a book club essential read. But for me, being one of the few people who couldn’t get to grips with it, I was hesitant of what to expect from the theatrical performance. I was in awe; everything about this performance was outstanding – the acting, puppetry, music, staging and scenery (from boat to hospital room was flawlessly ingenious). Simply brilliant.

You could not hear a pin drop in the closing moments – the audience was completely captivated – a mesmerisingly beautiful performance!

Running now til Saturday 20 January. For information and tickets, go to:

LIFE OF PI by Martel, Novelist-Yann Martel, Playwright-Lolita Chakrabarti, Director -Max Webster, Set and Costume Designer – Tim Hatley, Puppetry and Movement Director – Finn Caldwell, Puppet Designers – Nick Barnes & Finn Caldwell, Video Designer – Andrzej Goulding, Lighting Designer – Tim Lutkin, Sound Designer -Carolyn Downing, Composer – Andrew T. Mackay, Dramaturg-Jack Bradley, Sheffield Theatres,Tour 2023, UK, Credit: Johan Persson