Jaw-dropping visuals and world-class puppetry combine in a unique and breath-taking theatrical event arriving in Southampton next month. 

Winner of five Olivier Awards, including Best New Play, Life of Pi plays Mayflower Theatre from May 14 to 18 as part of a year-long UK and Ireland tour.

Lolita Chakrabati's dazzling stage adaptation of Yann Martel's best-selling novel stars an extraordinary life-sized Bengal tiger. 

Daily Echo: A scene from Life of Pi

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After an epic storm in the Pacific Ocean, Pi is stranded on a lifeboat with four other survivors – a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, and a Royal Bengal tiger.

Based on the global phenomenon and winner of the Man Booker Prize, selling over 15 million copies worldwide, Life Of Pi is the hugely popular story of an epic journey of endurance and hope.

When the team bringing the West End and Broadway favourite arrive in Hampshire, they will bring along their own physiotherapist - just like a football team visiting St Mary's. And the physio will have their work cut out for them. This is a show staged by an elite squad, who have some serious lifting to do. 

Daily Echo: A scene from Life of Pi

Life of Pi is the story of Piscine Molitor 'Pi' Patel who finds himself lost at sea for 227 days in a lifeboat with only zoo animals for company. One of them is a 450lb tiger. 

Bringing the enormous creature to life takes seven puppeteers - and they need to be at the peak of physical fitness. 

"I still go to the gym, but I don’t lift as much because I know I’m going to get a work-out during the show," says Akash Heer, who manipulates the tiger’s head. "My stamina has definitely improved."

"It's an athletic piece of physical theatre," says Max Webster, the director whose show won three Tony Awards on Broadway on top of the West End Oliviers. 

Daily Echo: A scene from Life of Pi

"It’s demanding, physical and extreme. The extremity of the physical challenges are linked to the excitement of what you’re watching on stage."

Tickets for the show are on sale now from mayflower.org.uk or by calling 023 8071 1811.

Daily Echo: A scene from Life of Pi