pi pic

Pictures: Johan Persson

Life of Pi

Wolverhampton Grand


Based on Yann Martel’s award winning book, this stage production follows the life and adventures of Pi Patel, son of a zookeeper, and a lover of animals. 

After deciding to sell their zoo in India, and relocate to Canada, the Patel family board a ship with a few remaining animals. When a terrible storm strikes, the only human survivor is their son, and a few of their animals, who are cast abroad on a lifeboat. 

Among the animals is a fierce Bengal tiger, with which Pi must learn to negotiate in order to live, and ultimately survive. 

The challenge for this stage production, beautifully adapted by Lolita Chakrabartai, is to bring the book to Life and make the action realistic, believable and entertaining. This challenge was not only met but exceeded beyond all expectations.

The absolute stars of the show are the creatives. From the moment the performance began we were dazzled by the amazing lighting, sound and special effects, as we were exported to far off lands, stormy seas and exotic locations.

Praise must go to all of the techies who totally enhanced the production. The scenes of the storm and shipwreck were stunning, and the audience were so engrossed that when the hyena reeks havoc on board the lifeboat, and kills some of the remaining animals, people were gasping in shock and horror. 

The other star of the evening however was Divesh Subaskaran. He totally inhabited the role of Pi with charm, vulnerability and charisma. I could hardly believe that this is his first professional job after leaving Drama school. He is a name to look out for in the future, and I predict a glittering career - Dev Patel watch out! 

His relationship with the tiger named ‘Richard Parker’, despite moments of genuine danger and menace, remained sincere and I was able to suspend my disbelief for the rest of the performance, and I fully believed Richard Parker was real. Congratulations to the animators.

Divesh Subaskaran was ably supported by a strong and talented cast, playing many contrasting roles , and special mention must be made of Antony Antunes, giving a lovely cameo of a frustrated French cook.

The only casualty of the evening was that some of the incidental dialogue was lost, especially when spoken quickly and on the move.

The evening has to be summed up like this: when I overheard a lady sitting behind me, who turned to her friend and said.. “I wasn’t sure about coming to see this, but I’m so glad I did.” My feelings exactly!

Go and see this production, you will be entranced. To 27-04-24.

Jonathan Owen


Index page Grand Reviews A-Z Reviews by Theatre