January 17, 2017
*Amended with new listing details (see below): June 20 2017*
An adaptation of now US-based, Khaled Hosseini’s bestselling novel, ‘The Kite Runner’ finally makes it to the West End…
By Tasha Mathur
PUBLISHED in 2003, Hosseini’s novel, “The Kite Runner”, has become a literary sensation and continues to sell millions of copies worldwide. So to take on the challenge of adapting such a much loved story for stage is one to be admired and kudos to playwright, Matthew Spangler, for attempting it.
Spanning over 25 years of Afghanistan’s tumultuous history, from the Soviet Invasion right up to 9/11, the story follows two young boys and best friends in 1970s Kabul, Amir (Ben Turner) and Hassan (Andrei Costin).
Despite Hassan being Amir’s servant, a Hazara and a Shia Muslim, while Amir was a Pashtun, Sunni Muslim, the inseparable pair grew up together against the odds, as others frowned on the unlikely friendship. The disgust at the brotherly love they share culminates in Hassan being brutally raped while Amir secretly watches, unable to stand up for his friend.
The Soviet Invasion of 1979, forces Amir and his father to leave their homeland behind and begin an expat life in California. However, despite this fresh start, Amir continues to be haunted by guilt and when he gets a call with the opportunity ‘to be good again’ – Amir finds himself back in Kabul searching for redemption for his sins.
Narrated by Amir throughout, audiences are given an almost step-by-step re-telling of his story and perhaps better use could be made of the stage through more visually symbolic representations of the book. However, it allows director, Giles Croft to stay true to Hosseini’s words and some of Turner’s monologues leave the auditorium in pin drop silence.
With Turner and Costin playing younger versions on Amir and Hassan instead of casting child actors, the play lacks a certain authenticity. However, the ease of Turner’s constant switch between adult Amir’s narration and younger’s Amir’s childhood antics is to be respected as he kept audiences captivated from start to finish.
After being revived since its first showing in 2013, the universal themes of love, friendship, betrayal, guilt and redemption mean that the play can be enjoyed by all.
Perhaps it’s even more apt today than ever, in a world where we’re used to hearing of heart-breaking stories of refugees caught up in the midst of turmoil and conflict. However, The Kite Runner can leave you feeling hopeful in the form of a beautiful friendship between two young boys; Amir and Hassan.
‘The Kite Runner’ originally at Wyndham’s Theatre, Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0DA January-March 11 2017
Until August 26 2017 and then on tour…
More info and tickets: http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-kite-runner/playhouse-theatre/