A captivating adaptation of Yann Martel’s best-selling novel The Life of Pi is an emotionally charged tale of intrigue and adventure.
Pi Patel’s family plan to emigrate due to civil unrest and a ‘government emergency’ in Pondicherry. Selling their zoo and packing up the animals they set sail upon the ill-fated cargo ship bound for Canada. Shipwrecked at sea Pi is the sole human survivor left floating over the vast Pacific. Although he is not alone, Pi shares a lifeboat with an injured zebra, an orangutan, and a hungry Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.
Pi unfolds his recollection of events as he meets with officials in his hospital bed telling his traumatic truth in a series of well-staged flashbacks. Met with fear and doubt the innocent and curious Pi expertly acted by Hiran Abeysekera, embarks upon his story.
A stranded young boy who is exploring his spirituality now only has his faith to ensure his survival. As the stage turns into a ship, like a wave they immerse the audience in the fast-paced scene changes and existential storylines.
One of Sheffield’s finest auditoriums and well equipped for interactive and diverse sets, The Crucible Theatre inspires a stage production that is breathtakingly exquisite. Both the visual and sound effects offer an exceptionally emotive range of collaborative purpose which is encapsulated by dynamic performances from the whole cast. Finn Caldwell and Nick Barnes puppetry and movement direction, bring the spirit of the animals to life – these wonderfully designed creations are technically outstanding and the up-close action is effective in the audience’s perception that these creatures are alive.
Life of Pi is a beautifully crafted story steeped in unquestionable faith, friendship and love. Pi is graced with the hope of survival in a hostile environment where he is challenged constantly throughout and faced with the harsh reality of endurance in the wild whilst up against the wonders of life.
There’s an intricate celebration between humour and religion where a ‘collective’ God seems to act as a guidance system throughout. Hope keeps afloat in the face of survival as Pi’s faith is tested. From the bloodletting of turtles and dream-like sequences to the mystical narratives about faith and belief, Life of Pi is a breathtakingly intense tale delivered in a surreal and visually magical adaptation of a modern classic. Max Webster’s direction and Lolita Chakribartis theatrically engaging stage play is an exceptional achievement and has my stamp of approval.
Life of Pi is at the Crucible Theatre until 20th July 2019. You can buy tickets for the Crucible Theatre here.