The UK’s first ever tour of Life of Pi is a real treat, vividly bringing to life Yann Martel’s iconic novel through clever staging and animal puppet wizardry. 

“For what I’m about to tell you, you’ll believe in god,” says a shaken Pi who is prised out from underneath his hospital bed having spent close to a year at sea with a Bengal tiger. No one believes his extraordinary story, as audiences are taken on a journey to witness how the young man from India survives the most impossible of journeys.

A higher power is surely the only answer for survival as scenes flick between Pi’s hospital bed and past events which saw his family pack up their zoo in India on to a cargo ship and aim towards Canada for a fresh start.

The ship hits a storm on the way and the family are tossed over board, along with the animals as Pi finds himself on a life boat with a zebra, orangutan, hyena and a ferocious Bengal tiger. The outcome is surreal. 

Life of Pi, Wyndham’s Theatre

Source: Johan Persson

The puppetry throughout is absolutely amazing.

Several actors adopt incredibly believable animal costumes to pounce, gallop and roar across the stage. Screams could even be heard close to the front of the theatre as the tiger lunged at a helpless Pi as he struggles to keep the life boat afloat following the tragic accident. 

Theatre is escapism and Divesh Subaskaran has all the attributes to allow audiences to lose themselves in this wonderfully choreographed story.

It’s easy to immerse yourself in the story as the incredible puppeteers work their craft, blending into each scene seamlessly. If you were to strip back the music, lights and special effects (which all help of course!), you would still be fixated on the action because of the remarkable skill of the performers. Romina Hytten, who plays the Tiger Heart, even picked up an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for her efforts.

Divesh Subaskaran, who plays Pi, marks his professional debut on this tour and the young actor is a star in the making. Theatre is escapism and he has all the attributes to allow audiences to lose themselves in this wonderfully choreographed story.

You cannot fail to be impressed with how Subaskaran makes a life boat fixed to the stage look as though it is rocking violently on the water. He leaps from side to side to make the angry tiger sea sick as he fights for his own space on board. At one point, he can also be seen ‘flying through the waves’, as he’s picked up by other cast members and weaved above their heads in slow motion to emulate the ocean’s movements. It’s cleverly done.

Life of Pi, Wyndham’s Theatre

Source: Johan Persson

Pi floats to safety after the ship sinks.

All the great stories in this world have a talking point afterwards. Think Agatha Christie’s whodunnit shows as you discuss when, or if you discovered the correct culprit.

Well, Life of Pi is no different as audiences are given two versions of events - the likely version, or a bewildering tale concocted through trauma.

I’m on the side of Pi and that god himself could only drag him to safety. It makes a better story as he confesses right at the start. But whatever you believe, this show is a truly wonderful piece of theatre that is sure to captivate audiences across the UK.

We saw Life of Pi on Wednesday 20th September at Milton Keynes Theatre. The show is currently booking until 29th June 2024. For information and tickets go to

To find out more about taking a group to MK Theatre and to see its programme of shows and performances click here.