There's something simply magical about seeing Life of Pi on stage, but the showing I was at had a little extra magic. 

Theatre is at its best when it can use all of the tools available to it to create whole and vivid worlds that shouldn't be possible inside an auditorium. 

And that's exactly what the touring production of Life of Pi does, which is currently playing at the Bristol Hippodrome, it brings oceans and boats and animals to life through incredible puppetry, imaginative set design, lighting, mechanics, projection and superb acting. 

It also helps that the source material, Yann Martel's novel Life of Pi - which was subsequently made into an award-winning feature-length film - is a captivating, unbelievable and emotive story. 

But off the stage, many other incredible stories were going on that helped make it a special night. 

At the centre of the production is the bringing of animals to life, and sure enough, an orangutan, a zebra, a hyena and a tiger and many other creatures are superbly realised through brilliantly designed puppets operated by fantastic puppeteers, with tiger Richard Parker in particular really conveying how dangerous and ferocious a big cat can be. 

And behind the scenes, there was another story playing out involving Richard Parker. One of the puppeteers was Kate Roswell who worked as a front-of-house supervisor between 2015 and 2020 but was now bringing a ferocious animal to life at the very theatre she used to help run. 

Another big element of the show is the titular character, Piscine Patel, or Pi for short, and Divesh Subaskaran superbly held the entire show together with his central performance for the first act, in what was his professional debut. 

But that's where another offstage story starts, as the audience was left stunned by an announcement that he was not able to continue (it seems he injured himself at some point) and he was set to be replaced by Keshini Misha, who suddenly found herself in the spotlight on her professional debut. 

And under, what I imagine were unexpected circumstances, she fully owned the character of Pi making it her own, ultimately leaving the Bristol audiences with two superb leading performances to digest. 

Life of Pi is a story that is about the power of stories, how they can make situations better. It's a gorgeous, incredible piece of theatre I would thoroughly recommend to anyone, but on this particular night, it presented its own unique story that only those people in the room at the time would ever experience. Like I said, magical.