The Kite Runner
June 13 – July 6
Author: Matthew Spangler from the novel by Khaled Hosseini
Director: Giles Croft
Producer: Liverpool Everyman Playhouse & Nottingham Theatre Company
Cast Includes: Ben Turner, Farshid Rokey, Emilio Doorgasingh, Nicholas Khan, Nicholas Karimi, Lisa Zahra, Anthony Bunsee, Ezra Khan.
Musician: Hanif Khan
Running Time: 2 hrs 45 mins
Sensational performances imbued with passion and energy lifts the already rich words of Khaled Hosseni’s multi-million selling novel The Kite Runner directly from the page and sprinkles them with yet more gold. This tale of honour, love, loyalty, regret, hardship, joy, loss and guilt is a gem of a play that quite simple glistens beneath the subtle lighting of The Playhouse, so that its atmosphere – which is yet further enhanced by the rhythmic tones of Hasif Khan’s hand-beaten drumming onstage – is sent soaring as high as one of Amir’s kites.
Matthew Spangler’s adaptation is filled with life and is so expertly executed by the direction of Giles Croft and his uber-talented team of actors that the two hours thirty minutes the audience are seated watching events unfold fly past in a blur.
Set in pre and post-war torn Afghanistan, the ambience of that strife riddled nation and all of its leader’s broken promises of a better life are embodied in the unfussy yet beautiful portrayal of Hassan by Farshid Rokey, who crawls beneath the skin of the loyal servant’s son and so mines a rich seam of devotion for his friend it becomes in danger of becoming overwhelming until being gently brought back to heel by this talented young actor.
Indeed, if ever there was a production of such collaborative genius then it lies in The Kite Runner, as each actor brings his own interpretation to each role whilst never seeking to overshadow or steal the spotlight away from the essence of the tale being told; that of intolerance and class being dangers that should be avoided at all times.
However, with that said, Ben Turner as the cowardly Amir is quite simply astonishing. Onstage throughout, Turner provides a performance of such energy, feeling, power, heartbreaking simplicity and deeply ingrained integrity which engages the audience from the off and – once in the palm of his hand – he refuses to let go and, without question, turns this production of The Kite Runner into pure theatrical magic.
Photo © Robert Day 2013