Life of Pi

Wales Millennium Centre


Life of Pi review

Are you a theatre goer, reader? Because my review will make you believe in stage adaptations of award-winning media.

The titular character, Pi (Divesh Subaskaran), starts his grand story in a similar fashion. I make an awkward reference to this in the hopes I will grab you in the same way this show kept hold of me. It was truly incredible.

If you have read Yann Martel’s 2001 best-seller, or seen the 2012 film of the same name, then you know the story. Briefly for those who don’t, it follows 17-year-old Pi, stranded at sea on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

The show, written by Lolita Chakrabarti, stays very true to the source material, using impressive production techniques and dynamic set design to present the story’s awesome visuals. I was particularly impressed with the use of projection throughout.

Scene exposition, and especially the water at sea was done in such a visually pleasing way, through the use of projection upon props or the stage itself.

I think other productions could learn a lot from this use of projection mapping.

The props in general were another major standout, from a Parrot in a window to debris in the sea.

Life of Pi features a number of animals, presented through the use of manned puppets.

Your eyes are effortlessly drawn to these animals, behaving how one would expect were they real. So much so that the on-stage humans controlling them simply blend into the set, like they are meant to be there.

I of course, then, have to specifically mention Sebastian Goffin, Kate Roswell and Antony Antunes, who were in control of Richard Parker himself, the Bengal tiger.

Refreshingly for myself, this production was not a musical. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good musical; I just thoroughly enjoyed being drawn into an extremely well written, well-acted and seriously good piece of theatre, with no show numbers.

Lolita Chakrabarti’s Life of Pi could be my favourite stage production I’ve seen, and I would highly recommend it to everyone. We all like a gripping story, this one’s clearly been working out.

Ollie Barnes