I haven’t read the book and I haven’t seen the film, so I was seeing the Kite Runner on stage at the Nottingham Playhouse with completely fresh eyes. I would image there weren’t many people there who could say the same.
What I did know was that this was a heart-wrenching story about friendship and cultures spanning time and continents. I was prepared to be moved; to be emotionally exhausted and wrung out by the end. What intrigued me was how a stage play was going to portray Afghanistan in the 1970’s, the cultural struggles, the adult themes, and the ageing of the characters. In this respect I wasn’t disappointed.
Making its European Premier at the Playhouse in Nottingham, and based on the best selling book by Khalid Hosseini, The Kite Runner tells the story of friends Amir and Hassan, and how the events of one fateful afternoon changes their lives forever. The set is clever and simple, and doesn’t distract from the acting. Good lighting and beautiful backdrops transport you from one country to another effortlessly. The onstage musician adds an authentic element to the whole production.
But what makes this such a standout production has to be the performance of Ben Turner, playing the lead, Amir. Quite simply stunning, Ben narrates the whole two and a half hour play, as well as playing the part of the young 12 year old Amir, before transforming into the adult Amir, complete with American accent. Quite simply breath taking. Not being a regular theatre goer, I found myself in awe of his talent and skill and was enthralled by his every move.
The moving tale of Hassan and Amir had the audience transfixed. The detail, the dialogue, the simple yet effective set all combined to create a stunning production. Friends told me it was an authentic retelling of the story too. If I had one problem it was that, seated in the Circle I struggled to hear some of the dialogue which hindered my understanding of the plot at times. My partner for the evening had no such problem though so it’s something for me to consider for future productions.
It took some time to process the evening. Much of the tale doesn’t make for easy viewing; it’s harrowing and gritty and deals with hard hitting issues like rape and racism. But several days on I realise how much I loved it, how I was moved and touched by it. I have decided to read the book, to experience more of this tragic tale.
The Kite Runner is on at the Playhouse Nottingham until May 18th and tickets cost between £8 and £27. Wednesday May 8th is the post show discussion. Tickets can be booked here.
Disclosure: We were given 2 complimentary tickets to see the Kite Runner. The opinions and comments are genuine and honest.