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.
by Phil Willmott | Monday, October 14 2019, 09:36
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