A story which explores innocence, guilt, and questions the ties that bind us, The Kite Runner play offers an exquisite adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's iconic novel, exploring a boyhood friendship as the microcosm of a turbulent political period.
Adapting fiction onto the stage is never a mean feat, least of all when the work in question is as widely revered as Khaled Hosseini's epic novel – but thanks to a flawless cast, atmospheric set, and subtle yet powerful special effects, the theatre production of The Kite Runner was nothing short of outstanding.
A tale that begins in 1970s Afghanistan, The Kite Runner follows an unlikely friendship between privileged Amir, played by David Ahmad, and servant boy Hassan, played by Jo Ben Ayed, interweaved with real historical events such as the Soviet invasion and Taliban rule.
Incorporating themes of morality, societal expectations, guilt and redemption, the story is centred on a tragic event which leads to dire consequences for the boyhood kinship, and brings into question whether blood really is thicker than water.
Even before the curtain was raised on Amir and his woeful reflections, the atmosphere was created thanks to the live tabla player, who remained a constant presence throughout, his intermittent music immersing audiences into the story.
Doubling as the protagonist and narrator, and moving between past and present, Amir commanded the audience’s attention from the start, retrospectively sharing a life story that’s plagued by guilt and regret.
Continually switching between a haunted American adult and innocent Afghan boy with incredible ease, Amir was a joy to watch, as was his friendship with the pitiful Hassan. Joking, playing and evidently inseparable, the comic interludes and happy kinship only added to the sense of foreboding.
With the action moving from Afghanistan, into Pakistan, and then into 1980s America (with some good old pop tunes and vintage fashion for good measure) before returning to a poverty-stricken Kabul, the action guided audiences through an emotional rollercoaster.
The Kite Runner offered moments of action, reflection, celebration, tragedy, and horror. Revelations and repercussions along the way created a gripping drama that culminated in an epic finale, with the ending allowing closure but also keeping the story and characters alive and open to interpretation.
Particularly impressive was the evocation of various landscapes, created through language and music. The fluidity in language as characters spoke, prayed and sang in their native tongue transported audiences into Amir’s world and offered a unique theatre experience.
For those that haven’t read the book, The Kite Runner offers some twists and turns throughout, making it not only a moving story but a compelling drama. And even if you know the plot, these pivotal moments are still a delight to witness.
Take tissues! At moments heart-warming and at others heart-rending, The Kite Runner is definitely a tear jerker.
Wednesday 01 November 2017
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