'Life Of Pi' Alive on Stage by Alex Gordon, Sutton Grammar School

Wydnham Theatre, London <i>(Image: Alex Gordon)</i>
Wydnham Theatre, London (Image: Alex Gordon)

The vivid imagery, storytelling and masterful puppetry brings to life Yann Martel’s novel to the stage in a breathtaking adaptation of a thought-provoking story.


In the Wyndham's Theatre, ‘Life of Pi’ is about Pi, the son of a zookeeper, who recollects his 227 days shipwrecked in the Pacific. The seventeen-year-old becomes stranded in a lifeboat with only four other survivors - an orangutan, a hyena, a zebra and a royal Bengal tiger. His story of faith, hope and survival in this adaptation captures the social, political and religious commentary of the plot through symbolism, while subtly being left open for the audience’s interpretation.


With dynamic movements, the puppets are skillfully manipulated by performers to represent the animals while sights and sounds illustrate different settings to create an amazing atmosphere in the theatre. Most notably, one of the most complex illustrations on the stage was of the lifeboat at sea. Projections create waves at sea as the boat slowly spins around the stage with a host of visual effects enhancing this image.


The characters are representational and deep throughout Pi’s accounts and many thought-provoking lines are left for the audience to contemplate, especially when Pi says, “all life will defend itself, no matter how small.” Both the writer (Lolita Chakrabarti) and director (Max Webster) have done an exceptional job of bringing together this performance to convey the key themes from the novel of belief and survival.


The multi-award-winning play has been extended to January 2023 so there is still an opportunity to watch Lolita Chakrabarti’s adaptation on stage at Wyndham's Theatre.