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Life of Pi description
Life of Pi – Meet Richard Parker the tiger
Lolita Chakrabarti's new stage adaptation has already enjoyed a critically and commercially successful world premiere in Sheffield. So it's fantastic to hear that her extraordinary stage version of Life of Pi will be transferring to the West End. The play is based on the outstanding Man Booker-winning book about a cargo ship that sinks in the Pacific Ocean leaving a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, a 16 year-old boy and a Bengal tiger to survive together in a lifeboat. The original book is by Yann Martel and the play is directed by Max Webster.
WhatsOnStage described Life of Pi as 'a spectacular on-stage experience', and they're right thanks to designs by Tim Hatley and Finn Caldwell of Gyre and Gimble in collaboration with Nick Barnes who designed the puppets. Lighting is from Tim Lutkin, composition by Andrew Mackay, sound by Carolyn Downing, video by Andrzej Goulding and original casting by Polly Jerrold. The talented Finn Caldwell plays the tiger, manipulating the amazing puppet to perfection. It actually looks real. Amazing!
Wyndham's is set to be 'specially reconfigured' for the play, reinventing the auditorium in a creative way to change the levels, extend the stage over the stalls for a thrillingly surreal environment, and generally add to the sheer, magical intensity of the action.
The young boy who survives the shipwreck is called Pi. The Bengal tiger is called Richard Parker. The boy and the beast must learn to coexist on a lifeboat as they battle the seas and try to survive. The on-stage action is just as compelling as the movie, which was directed by Ang Lee and starred Suraj Sharma, a film that was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won four.
Why is the tiger called Richard Parker? It's complicated. Richard Parker was a character in Edgar Allan Poe's book The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. Richard Parker was the name of a boy who was cannibalised after a shipwreck in 1884, and there was a third Richard Parker, who drowned during the sinking of the Francis Spaight in 1846. The author, Yann Martel, enjoyed the coincidence and felt that so many unfortunate Richard Parkers must have a meaning.
The Guardian's five-star review said this play is 'an extraordinary journey'. The Telegraph called it a 'worthy successor to War Horse'. It is nothing if not astonishing, breathtaking and thrilling. Don't miss it.
Who is this show for?
Life of Pi is recommended for people aged eight or more.
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Life of Pi reviews
What to expect:Acting
- Recommended for:
- Anyone (86%)
- Families (89%)
- Teenagers (93%)
- Couples (94%)
- Theatregoers (97%)
Latest customer reviews
Reviewed on 15 January 2023 by Barbara, London, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 09 January 2023 by Thomas, St. Ingbert, Germany
Spectacular show! Stunning puppetry, artistic interpretation, costumes & set design. Wonderful acting.
Reviewed on 08 January 2023 by Natalie, Godalming, United Kingdom
I was so curious as to how the book would be interpreted and represented as a play. Done with inspiration. Puppets amazing and sets and scenes done so cleverly.
Reviewed on 31 December 2022 by Mary, Surrey, United Kingdom
Incredibly imaginative stage design - transforming a bare hospital room into a lively colourful Indian zoo, a cargo ship in a storm, a life boat on the open sea. Brilliant puppertry that brought the animals to life.
Reviewed on 25 December 2022 by Deborah, London, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 24 December 2022 by Hannah, London, United Kingdom
Did not disappoint. Lead actor excellent ad brilliant puppetry. Enjoyable for any age group. Brilliant set design.
Reviewed on 23 December 2022 by Ann, Aylesbury, United Kingdom
Superb effects and acting
Reviewed on 20 December 2022 by Kim, Bishop's Stortford, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 19 December 2022 by Karen, London, United Kingdom
Very disappointing, 10 out 10 for effort however found very difficult to follow
Reviewed on 13 December 2022 by Gary, Leeds, United Kingdom
An excellent show in all respects. The agility of the players was remarkable, particularly the animal activators. The animal models were fantastic! Bring binoculars to get close up to the action and see the detail on the tiger. Must see!,
Reviewed on 10 December 2022 by Alan, Robin Hoods Bay, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 08 December 2022 by Sonia, Benalmadena, Spain
Reviewed on 05 December 2022 by Wellesley, Barnstable, United States Of America
Reviewed on 03 December 2022 by Sara, London, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 29 November 2022 by Annick, London, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 29 November 2022 by Jane, Lowestoft, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 28 November 2022 by Jörg, Zollikon, Switzerland
Fantastic story that was brilliantly adapted for the stage from the book.
Reviewed on 26 November 2022 by David, Overijse, Belgium
This show is the best I have seen in a long,long time! Everything about it was amazing,the staging, the costumes, the puppetry, the latest technology and of course the wonderful wonderful storytelling. I have never before seen actors and puppeteers so intertwined all skillfully taking on the role of both actor and puppeteer. The whole production was truly dazzling and inspirational, I would love to see it all again!
Reviewed on 17 November 2022 by Rosemarie, Birchington-on-sea, United Kingdom
Acting, puppetry, story-line and effects all first class in the magical atmosphere of an intimate theatre. Loved it.
Reviewed on 17 November 2022 by Robert, Skibbereen, Ireland
A heartwarming performance with depth and emotion. Pi’s character was endearing and inspirational. The props and special effects were truly top class. A wonderfully entertaining evening in the company of true professionals, thank you!
Reviewed on 11 November 2022 by Michelle, Purley, United Kingdom
We knew the story and I was sceptical about it being convincing....but I was soon drawn into the magical way it was performed. Simplicity in places was so apt. All over too soon as far as we were concerned. Tube strike made our journeys terrible but we were pleased the show was more than worth it. Actors seemed to enjoy themselves too. Don't miss it!
Reviewed on 11 November 2022 by Jackie, London, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 06 November 2022 by Victor, Halifax, United Kingdom
A very enjobale show with excellent animations
Reviewed on 05 November 2022 by Charles Edward, White, United Kingdom
Absolutely beautiful from start to finish. We loved the set and puppetry especially.
Reviewed on 30 October 2022 by Elspeth, Richmond, United Kingdom
This is an absolute must see show. The actors work hard to tell the story and to stay true to the book. The puppetry is just wonderful - for this alone the show rates 5 stars. And the staging is just immense. I am in awe of the whole production - full of colour, vibrancy, surprises and hope, beautifully presented by a fine cast and crew.
Reviewed on 29 October 2022 by Alan, Halifax, United Kingdom
Deep, had broken story.
Reviewed on 25 October 2022 by Dainora, London, United Kingdom
Everyone knows in advance about the puppetry but the superlative stage design and lighting effects were also unbelievably good. I especially liked the sea and fishes.
Reviewed on 23 October 2022 by Richard, Southampton, United Kingdom
This production was brilliantly done - great acting, creative choreography,clever special effects and heartfelt telling of a story. We would definitely recommend others to go and enjoy the play.
Reviewed on 23 October 2022 by Emma, Hythe, United Kingdom
The animations, Props etc we’re all fantastic, so real, I’d love to know how it was created. So very enjoyable.
Reviewed on 17 October 2022 by Helen, Maryborough, Australia
One of, if not the best stage show I have had the pleasure to watch
Reviewed on 16 October 2022 by Dave, Preston, United Kingdom
We’ve just had our minds blown away by the stage version of ‘The Life of Pi’. Acting, lighting, effects and puppetry were all outstanding. Yet again this story moves, intrigues, and inspires. we’ve read the book, seen the film and now watched the play. And each version has uncovered the strory’s beautiful truths a little more. The play was utterly incredible. I even felt empathy for the animals. If you get the chance to see it, DO SO! It’s one of those life stories and one of those plays you will never forget - it will stay with you and remind you of the human strengths of facing your fears, doing what you feel is right for you - and never giving up in the face of adversity. It’s also about so much more. ❤️
Reviewed on 15 October 2022 by Julie, Poole, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 09 October 2022 by Daryl, Craigavon, United Kingdom
Wonderful story telling and a feast for the senses
Reviewed on 26 September 2022 by Cally, Bedford, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 24 September 2022 by Alma, Newbury, United Kingdom
The best show I have seen in years. Truly captivating
Reviewed on 19 September 2022 by Elizabeth, Tonbridge, United Kingdom
Very enjoyable show.
Reviewed on 17 September 2022 by Cherriel, London, United Kingdom
I love puppets and the ones in this show are spectacular especially the tiger of course. Not really suitable for young children because of scary content. The actor playing Pi gave his all in a very demanding,physical role.
Reviewed on 13 September 2022 by Deborah, Bromley, United Kingdom
The show truly was transporting and magical. Definitely recommend watching from the H row of seats, its very high up but felt like the perfect view!
Reviewed on 10 September 2022 by Lowri, London, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 09 September 2022 by Zuzanna, Piła, Poland
Reviewed on 08 September 2022 by Tan Tat, Croydon, United Kingdom
Very colourful. Lifelike puppets that were made very well. Excellent acting. Pi was brilliant and so natural.
Reviewed on 04 September 2022 by Andrew, East Leake, United Kingdom
Great story as well as amazing acts from the performers. A must see for anyone interested in theatre.
Reviewed on 30 August 2022 by Renneth, Mansfield, United Kingdom
Incredible staging and acting. The philosophical nature of the written story is lost in the masterful puppetry and gripping momentum of this 2-hour theater show, but it’s nevertheless thoroughly enjoyable.
Reviewed on 18 August 2022 by Scott, Portland, United States Of America
Absolutely amazing performance!!! Pi and Richard Parker were incredible
Reviewed on 17 August 2022 by Christianne, Wigginton, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 15 August 2022 by Fahreen, Nakuru, Kenya
Must see !
Reviewed on 15 August 2022 by Francois, Issy Les Moulineaux, France
Reviewed on 12 August 2022 by Van Chi, Paris, France
Reviewed on 11 August 2022 by Ali, Worksop, United Kingdom
My advice to everyone is BOOK, you really don't want to miss this show, the costumes are amazing, the cast are brilliant, the show is just superb.
Reviewed on 06 August 2022 by Martin, Grantham, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 04 August 2022 by Priscilla, London, United Kingdom
Very impressive and enjoyable
Reviewed on 04 August 2022 by Claire, London, United Kingdom
Majestic puppetry & performance! Highly recommended for young children and adults. Tickled all emotions.
Reviewed on 31 July 2022 by Shilpi, London, United Kingdom
Imaginative use of space, objects and puppetry to create fantastical scenes with animals and boats
Reviewed on 30 July 2022 by Jing, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
The show was well worth watching. The puppetry was excellent and the special effects excellent. Loved the humour too.
Reviewed on 26 July 2022 by Kiran, Chadwell Heath, United Kingdom
Totally captivated by Life of Pi - we actually cried at the end. Awesome production and the actor who played Pi was outstanding.
Reviewed on 25 July 2022 by Tania, Poole, United Kingdom
Well acted, especially the actor playing Pi. Loved the animals.
Reviewed on 22 July 2022 by Irene, Hayes, United Kingdom
The animals were so well done that the puppet masters were mostly invisible. They worked hard at making all movements very lifelike. The technology of the projections, the lighting and the sound effects totally engulfed you into the action of the story.
Reviewed on 16 July 2022 by Linnea, Minnetonka, United States Of America
Very enjoyable, engaging throughout. Unexpectedly humorous. Suitable for families but not young children - some scenes with the “animals” could be upsetting. Great animation/puppetry.
Reviewed on 15 July 2022 by Helen, Rawdon, United Kingdom
Main character really strong so the rest of the cast and the puppeteers…
Reviewed on 11 July 2022 by Sergio, Atizapan, Mexico
I enjoyed the original book and film . The show did not disappoint. My friend was not aware of ‘Life of Pi’ but throughly enjoyed the story and theatre experience .
Reviewed on 10 July 2022 by Mel, Reading, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 09 July 2022 by Donald, Sarasota, United States Of America
Reviewed on 07 July 2022 by Imogen, Bristol, United Kingdom
Had a fantastic time watching the play. It had me engaged the whole time and though it was a sad story loved the comedy element in it. The theatre experience was very informal. Would have been nice to know how long the intermission was. Aside from that it uplifted my mood and made a great day out.
Reviewed on 04 July 2022 by Helga, Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 03 July 2022 by Smita, London, United Kingdom
We loved it , thank you all for such great entertainment!£
Reviewed on 01 July 2022 by Sheila, Dartmouth, United Kingdom
The theatre was a bit humid. It is a small theatre with cramped seats do definitely need to be cooler.
Reviewed on 28 June 2022 by Kajsha, Croydon, United Kingdom
Wonderful acting V vivid Thought I would get wet! Lovely story Loved the puppetry Lead actor brillant
Reviewed on 23 June 2022 by Dawn, Greenhithe, United Kingdom
Absolutely excellent in every way. Great cast, story told really well. So glad we went.
Reviewed on 14 June 2022 by Helen, Wirral, United Kingdom
it was incredible. So much energy and action. Pi was brilliant the changes of set were mesmerising the animals were portrayed with immense skill I was overwhelmed
Reviewed on 12 June 2022 by Fiona, Baldock, United Kingdom
I loved the book and the movie, but the West End play Life of Pi is another level altogether. Amazing puppetry, lighting, music and acting brings to life the story of a boy and tiger learning to coexist on a lifeboat adrift at sea. So moving!
Reviewed on 11 June 2022 by Dale, Petersham, Australia
Reviewed on 05 June 2022 by Anush, North Bay Village, United States Of America
Reviewed on 03 June 2022 by Sally, Coventry, United Kingdom
A fantastic creative and stunning performance
Reviewed on 02 June 2022 by Elizabeth, Hull, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 30 May 2022 by Guy, Flimwell, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 29 May 2022 by Marieke, Reeuwijk, Netherlands
This is a wonderful theatrical experience, I am a huge theatre fan and attend performances at least twice a month. The 'Life of Pi' sets are amazing, clever and inventive enhanced by incredibly skilled lighting and visuals. It is always hard to translate an iconic book like 'Life of Pi'across to theatre, television or cinema and something is bound to be lost in the process. By enlarge this was a successful transfer, what was lost in the narrative was compensated for by the enormity of the vision and the total success of the sets and puppetry. At times the acting was somewhat wooden and stilted, I am not a fan of 'blind casting' and for me the insertion of white actors as Indians was jarring and unnecessary, however that aside it is certainly a production that I am very glad I did not miss.
Reviewed on 10 May 2022 by Deborah, Nr St Austell, United Kingdom
Such a wonderful show
Reviewed on 08 May 2022 by Malcolm, Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom
Truly mesmerising. Pi is outstanding and the puppetry masterful. Lighting, set and special effects creative genius. Pure brilliance at every level.
Reviewed on 02 May 2022 by Carol, Twickenham, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 27 April 2022 by Gerlinde, London, United Kingdom
I read the book. I saw the film. But, this performance truly brought this wonderful story to life. The actors were uniformly excellent but the puppets and puppeteers were awesome!
Reviewed on 23 April 2022 by Leslie, Bethesda, United States Of America
A delight absolute gem will bring my daughter next time. Very meaningful and great acting and props in a beautiful theatre.
Reviewed on 23 April 2022 by Dulani, Didsbury, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 21 April 2022 by Ildikó, Budapest Xiv., Hungary
Reviewed on 20 April 2022 by David, New York, United Kingdom
A faithful and, (if not somewhat thematically biased) visually stunning adaptation of the book. The costume, prop and stage design perfectly convey the thematic importance of Pi's account at sea, which like the direction, bring a new perspective to an audience with prior knowledge (or in retrospection), if not slightly limiting further interpretations.
Reviewed on 19 April 2022 by Che Harry, London, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 19 April 2022 by Charles-henry, London, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 19 April 2022 by Ljiljana, Basingstoke, United Kingdom
A glorious paean for man versus nature, this performance had everything great in as far as you were watching a man, (an extremely amusing one), on a boat with a tiger in the middle of an ocean. Add the beauty of night stars, a vulnerable wilderness and incredibly skilled direction and animal puppetry. Can you tell I loved it?!
Reviewed on 16 April 2022 by Paul, Sheffield, United Kingdom
This show was simply brilliant. A must see for all age groups.
Reviewed on 04 April 2022 by Mary, Chichester, United Kingdom
Not good, felt very dumbed down. Didn't get the hype.
Reviewed on 03 April 2022 by Evie, Enfield, United Kingdom
Main character excellent. Sets marvellous. Animals animated with great skill.
Reviewed on 31 March 2022 by Lesley, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 30 March 2022 by Tatiana, Torino, Italy
Reviewed on 25 March 2022 by Alexander, London, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 23 March 2022 by Jo, Bristol, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 17 March 2022 by Candy, London, United Kingdom
GREAT adaptaion. GREAT show.
Reviewed on 14 March 2022 by Anna, London, United Kingdom
this was real theatre, a real show. Full of colour, wonderful effects and of course, the animal puppets. A visual feast, Maybe not for children under 12 as there are scenes of death and killing, but otherwise a fantastic couple of hours of pure entertainment. My only quibble was that the some of the actors seemed to be shouting rather than projecting and this jarred a little.
Reviewed on 12 March 2022 by Arianne, Eastbourne, United Kingdom
A wonderful book and film and the stage version doesn’t disappoint in any way. This is an extraordinary technical and artistic achievement. The lighting effects are outstanding. Lose yourself in a wonderful theatre experience.
Reviewed on 10 March 2022 by Julie, Yelverton, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 04 March 2022 by Susie, London, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 28 February 2022 by Lawrence, Pacific Palisades, United States Of America
Life of Pi extends booking to 30th October 2022
by London Box Office | Sunday, May 8 2022, 21:55
Life of Pi has scored high from the start. It’s a real West End phenomenon. Now, having won 5 five Olivier Awards including Best New Play, public booking has extended to 30th October 2022, giving you more opportunites to see this magical production for yourself. Extraordinary doesn’t cover it. The puppetry, the scenery, and of course the exceptional performers have all contributed to what’s fast becoming a theatre legend.Life of Pi extends booking to 30th October 2022
Life Of Pi extends again thanks to 'phenomenal' demand
by London Box Office | Friday, March 18 2022, 13:26
You’re keen to experience the magic of Life of Pi before it ends. This is great news for people like you. Thanks to phenomenal ongoing demand the show has extended yet again, this time until 4th September 2022. The puppetry inspires sheer awe. The acting is extraordinary. And the plot is one of the most fascinating and unusual of our times.Life Of Pi extends again thanks to 'phenomenal' demand
Review: LIFE OF PI at Wyndham's Theatre
by Stuart King | Friday, January 7 2022, 11:06
For those who were captivated and engrossed by Yann Martel’s 2001 award winning novel, the stage adaptation will tick most of the plot boxes and mesmerise through sheer technical invention, but the production itself fails to genuinely engage on an emotional level.
Hiran Abeysekera (Pi) in Life of Pi at Wyndham's TheatreReview: LIFE OF PI at Wyndham's Theatre
Review: LIFE OF PI at Wyndham's Theatre
by Miriam Gibson | Wednesday, November 24 2021, 16:14
From The Lion King to Avenue Q, and The Magician's Elephant to Frozen, puppets have been become increasingly common and inventive in theatral productions. Now, puppets star in the spectacle-filled and fun production of Life Of Pi.
Hiran Abeysekera (Pi) Tom Larkin (Tiger Head) Nicholas Khan (Pi's Father) in The Life of Pi. Photo by by Johan PerssonReview: LIFE OF PI at Wyndham's Theatre
Life Of Pi Production Photos – Wow!
by London Box Office | Tuesday, November 23 2021, 20:28
Thanks go to Johan Persson for taking such fabulous production photos of the 2021 West End production of Life Of Pi, and to Helen Maybanks for taking amazing photos of Hiran and Tiger. The novel of the same name won the Man Booker prize, and Press Night takes place on Thursday 2nd December. Take a look at these new images of Life Of Pi and marvel at the skill of the actors, the puppetry, and the extraordinary plot. This really is a show to remember.Life Of Pi Production Photos – Wow!
Life of Pi - West End Premiere cast announced
by London Box Office | Wednesday, October 13 2021, 11:56
The amazing show inspired by Yann Martel's magical Man-Booker prize winning book is finally due on stage in the West End. Welcome to Life Of Pi, a story so strange, so magical and so unexpected that you'll be glued to your seat. The drama kicks off on 15th November 2021 and you'll adore this epic journey of endurance and hope. The special effects are quite simply spectacular, and the full cast has just been announced.Life of Pi - West End Premiere cast announced
6 of the Best 2020 Shows You Should Book in Advance: 4. THE LIFE OF PI
by Phil Willmott | Monday, January 13 2020, 15:58
There are certain shows that you know will sell out fast either because of the title or the creative team and stars. In a series of 6 articles we report on the likely box-office smashes of the forth coming year so you can book in advance and not miss out. Use our search engine at the top of the page to find the perfect performance to suit you and get booking!6 of the Best 2020 Shows You Should Book in Advance: 4. THE LIFE OF PI
The Life of Pi Comes to London
by Phil Willmott | Monday, October 14 2019, 08:36
Here’s some exciting news. The new, highly acclaimed, stage adaptation of the THE LIFE OF PI, the Man Booker prize winning tale of a boy and a tiger is coming to London.The Life of Pi Comes to London