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REVIEW - LIFE OF PI | THE LOWRY | 02/07/2024

Life of Pi artwork

All About Theatre five star review

Life of Pi has been captivating audiences since its premiere at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield in June 2019. Adapted from Yann Martel's award-winning novel by Lolita Chakrabarti, the play received acclaim during its successful run at Wyndham’s Theatre in London’s West End and later on Broadway, where it continued to captivate theatregoers. The play embarked on its first-ever UK tour last year and is returning to The Lowry in Salford this month after a triumphant Christmas season, a testament to its enduring popularity and the anticipation it continues to generate among audiences eager to experience its magic.

Life of Pi UK Tour production photo

Directed by Max Webster, Life of Pi follows the journey of Pi Patel, a 17-year-old from Pondicherry, India. After political upheaval, Pi’s family embarks on a voyage to Canada with some of their zoo animals. However, their ship encounters a devastating storm, sinking in the Pacific Ocean. Pi finds himself adrift on a lifeboat with a hyena, zebra, orangutan, and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

Over 227 days at sea, Pi grapples with the harsh realities of survival—scarcity of food and water, and the looming presence of Richard Parker. His faith, which spans Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam, is tested amidst the challenges. Pi's resourcefulness leads him to devise strategies for survival, including building a makeshift raft to maintain distance from the tiger and finding ways to sustain himself.

The relationship between Pi and Richard Parker becomes a compelling study of coexistence and dependence in the face of adversity. As Pi navigates the vastness of the ocean, his introspection delves into profound questions of existence, faith, and the human spirit. The narrative oscillates between moments of peril and quiet reflection, highlighting Pi's resilience and determination to endure.

Life of Pi UK Tour production photo

The production’s set, lighting, and projections are a visual feast. Tim Hatley's ingenious set design transitions seamlessly, creating a dynamic backdrop that moves the audience from Pi's childhood in India to the perilous expanse of the ocean. The projections, which transform the stage floor into a living canvas of maps, waves, and marine life, are incredibly realistic and immersive. Carolyn Downing’s masterful sound design further enhances this cinematic experience, making every moment resonate deeply.

A highlight of the show is its breathtaking puppetry. Designed by Nick Barnes and Finn Caldwell, the life-sized animal puppets are astonishingly realistic in both appearance and movement. The puppeteers bring such skill to their performances that the audience quickly forgets they are watching puppets, not real animals. The Richard Parker tiger puppet, animated by a team of eight puppeteers, stands out as a masterpiece of design and execution, imbuing the tiger with a lifelike presence that is both awe-inspiring and terrifying.

Life of Pi UK Tour production photo

Divesh Subaskaran, in his professional debut, delivers a compelling and heartfelt performance as Pi. He perfectly captures Pi's blend of youthful innocence and profound resilience, making his journey both relatable and moving. The supporting cast, many of whom play multiple roles, contribute to the seamless flow and emotional depth of the story.

Life of Pi UK Tour production photo

Life of Pi is a theatrical marvel that combines stunning visuals, powerful storytelling, and exceptional puppetry to create an unforgettable experience. It tells a poignant story of courage, survival, and the exploration of belief, brought to life with extraordinary artistry and heart. With impeccable performances, flawless technical execution, and unparalleled creativity, Life of Pi at The Lowry is a captivating and magical production that should not be missed.

Life of Pi is on at The Lowry until Saturday 6th July 2024, you can purchase tickets by clicking on the button below.

If you would like more information about the show and see where it will be touring to please click the button below for the show's official website.

Photo Credit - Johan Persson

*Our tickets for this show were kindly gifted in exchange for an honest review


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