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Life of Pi - Review by Callum Stott

Brilliant storytelling and theatrical spectacle combine in this brilliant book turned film turned stage adaptation. Through young Pi’s eyes, you are transported to a sinking ship, where as its only survivor, they must try and survive on a small boat in the middle of the ocean. As animals swim on board and push Pi to their limits to survive, they must connect spiritually with guiding voices to stand any chance of survival.

Based on the novel by Yann Martel, in 1960s India, young Pi finds themselves being taken away from friends and their community and onto a ship with their family to start a new life in Canada. As the journey ends in disaster, Pi escapes the wreckage on a small rescue boat.

Bringing to life the complexities of the boat and the sea is done with incredible visual design. Tim Lutkin’s lighting design combines with the overall set design by Tim Hatley, to create a perfect visual of a small boat in the middle of the vast sea. To bring the animals to life that join Pi on board their boat, puppetry under the direction of Finn Caldwell, designed by Nick Barnes and Finn Caldwell, is incredibly lifelike and is intricately designed for the stage. Creating a full-size tiger that acts and moves like the mammal is genius in both the performers that help support this and in its design. The show has an equal balance of visually stunning design and a thrilling story that leaves you fully amazed.

The show usually shares the lead role of Pi depending on the performance with two actors, Divesh Subaskaran and their alternate, Adwitha Arumugam. For this week, the actor playing the lead role is the understudy, Sonya Venugopal. Sonya is brilliantly cast and is on stage throughout. They go through the journey of the character of youthful wonder, to having to quickly grow up and deal with the complexity of being stranded at sea, without her family and trying to defend themselves against the animals. The rest of the ensemble plays a mixture of family members and friends, the ship crew and of course the animals. They all add brilliantly to the energy of the production and in telling Pi’s interesting story.

Life of Pi is a stunning piece of theatre. With a captivating story, and incredible puppetry and design, this is a spectacle you must not miss!

This production is rated ★★★★★

Life of Pi runs at Festival Theatre, Edinburgh until Saturday the 29th of June. To book tickets visit:



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