Review: LIFE OF PI, Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Life of Pi runs at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow until 22 June

By: Jun. 19, 2024
Review: LIFE OF PI, Theatre Royal, Glasgow
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Review: LIFE OF PI, Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Premiering at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield in 2019, Life of Pi is a play based on the 2001 novel of the same name by Yann Martel and it has been adapted for the stage by Lolita Chakrabartai.

Piscine (Pi) Patel (Divesh Subaskaran) is a teenage boy in India who is struggling with choosing just one religious identity. His family grow tired of his questions about spirituality so he seeks out services for all available religions. The family own a zoo and after a period of unrest in India, their paperwork is approved to start a new life in Canada. Pi, his parents and his older sister board a cargo ship with their zoo animals in crates.

Disaster strikes and the ship sinks. Pi makes it to a lifeboat and survives at sea for 227 days. The only thing is, he's not alone in the boat. Among other animals, there is a Bengal tiger called Richard Parker. The work of the puppeteers is truly incredible. It doesn't take long for you to stop noticing the humans behind the animals because the movement is so realistic.

The story is being told by Pi in a hospital room to government officials.  Mrs Okamoto (Lilian Tsang) needs to know why the ship sank and what happened as Pi is the only known survivor. She doesn't believe his story and grows frustrated with what she believes to be Pi's fantasy. 

Life of Pi ran successfully both in the West End and on Broadway and it appears absolutely nothing has been scaled down for this UK tour. Seats above the stalls offer the best view for the production as the projections show the sea sloshing across the stage. Tim Hatley's set and costume design is stunning and make this a truly beautiful show.

Life of Pi doesn't shy away from the more brutal elements of the book and story. You never forget that Pi is trapped in a boat with wild and dangerous animals. Subaskaran is fantastic as Pi, a wonderful storyteller who manages to portray both the sadness of his loss and find the humour in some of the tale.

This is a truly remarkable production of an incredible story of endurance and survival. 

Photo credit: Ellie Kurttz


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