THE KITE RUNNER: Adapt, Matthew Spangler, based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini
Birmingham Rep till 04 10 then touring to 22 11 14
Runs: 2h 40m, one interval
A Nottingham Playhouse – Liverpool Everyman production
A most moving production, it goes straight to our hearts.
THE KITE RUNNER is an incredibly powerful story; and this emotional pull ensures the adaptation is a performance that affects us deeply. It’s a tough tale, a heart-breaking one in many ways. Set in a society in which rigid social / religious / tribal rules destroy simple, honest, human affection or love. Yes, it’s set among Muslim communities in Afghanistan, but the themes are universal. And maybe uncomfortable.
Much of the weight of the production falls upon the shoulders of Ben Turner as the protagonist, Amir. THE KITE RUNNER is the story of his growth from childhood, in Afghanistan, into adulthood, in America. Central to the story is his relationship, brought up as he is as the privileged son of a wealthy merchant, with his servant and friend, Hassan. Built into their relationship is the Sunni-Shia divide.
Turner does a marvelous job. He gives us great chunks of narrative with ease, we feel comfortable in his company as a storyteller, though for much of the play we are as unable to forgive his mistreatment of Hassan as he is himself. Turner gives us flexibility and variety, he is a natural bridge for us into the tale. Andrei Costin’s Hassan is outstanding; he avoids the obvious trap of sentimentality and offers us a love for his master that we find difficult, in the West, to comprehend. It’s done with great commitment and simplicity and is heartbreaking. Their relationship is so tangible you could reach out and touch it.
It’s a strong acting team and a warm sense of ensemble. All cope with the span of years well – though I confess I was pleased to see the very early childhood scenes quickly dispatched. An adaptation with a little more imagination would have paid dividends, and to have seen enacted sections given a bit more time to breathe with strengthened relationships, particularly in the first half, would have been welcomed.
This having been said, the play and story go straight to our hearts, move us, and move us to work towards creating a better world. What more could you want?
This production was earlier reviewed on ReviewsGate by Al Geary at Nottingham Playhouse
Kamal / Zaman: David Ahmad
Wali: Bhavin Bhatt
General Taheri / Raymond Andrews: Antony Bunsee
Hassan / Sohrah: Andrei Costin
Baba: Emilio Doorgasingh
Assef: Nicholas Karimi
Ali / Farid: Ezra Khan
Rahim Khan / Dr Schneider / Omar Feisal: Nicholas Khan
Amir: Ben Turner
Soraya / Mrs Nguyen: Lisa Zahra
Hanif Khan: Musician
Director: Giles Croft
Designer: Barney George
Lighting Designer: Charles Balfour
Projection Designer: William Simpson
Composer: Jonathan Girling
Sound Designer: Drew Baumohl
Movement Director: Kitty Winter
Fight Director: Philip d’Orleans
Accent Coach: Sally Hague