Life of Pi Review

Hull New Theatre – until 30th March 2024

Reviewed by Dawn Bennett


Up to last night I hadn’t seen the Life of Pi on stage which was adapted by Lolita Chakrabarti, watched the film or read the novel by Yann Martel. I knew roughly what the story was about and had seen how many Olivier Awards the stage production had won (five, including one for the seven performers who puppeteer the Tiger “Richard Parker”). But really nothing could have prepared me for how good a production it actually was, the actors, set, puppets and the storyline were outstanding.

The story takes us to the hospital room of Pi (Divesh Subaskaran) and in flashbacks we see how he ended up in the hospital the only survivor of a boat taking him, his family and the animals from their zoo from India to Canada. The special effects are amazing from the rain storms on the boat, the changing sets to the different puppets on the stage including an orangutan, hyena and a zebra to name a few. The story is harrowing at times, showing how animals and people can behave in nature and when the odds are against them but the story was beautifully portrayed. You really need to go and watch this story unfold and see how the story is told.

Divesh Subaskaran, who according to the programme playing Pi is his professional debut, is a fabulous actor. He played the part with such ability and maturity you would think he was many years into his career. The sets and costumes (designed by Tim Hatley) helped set the scenes brilliantly. All the puppeteers (Antony Antunes, Sebastian Goffin, Akash Heer, Romina Hytten, Katie Kennedy-Rose, Aizah Khan, Kate Roswell, Tom Stacy and Peter Twose) were magnificent. They really made me believe that I was watching real animals on stage. Until the final curtain call, I hadn’t realised how small the cast was and how they played multiple parts in the show so well.

If you want to see an award-winning show, with an amazing cast and a fabulous and interesting storyline you won’t want to miss this show.