The Kite Runner @ The Playhouse
The Kite Runner currently showing at The Playhouse is that very rare beast; a play that conveys a whole lot more than the book it is based on.
Telling the story of Amir and his servant and boyhood chum, Hassan in Afghanistan in the 1970s, the play shows the youthful innocence of both boys horrifically corrupted on the streets of Kabul and the ramifications of a decision made by a 12-year-old boy across the years.
Ben Turner as Amir puts in an incredible performance, holding the stage throughout as he narrates and acts the part of Amir from from childhood to troubled adulthood. And this is where this play comes into its own when compared to Khaled Hosseini’s original novel. While Amir is essentially an unsympathetic character, Turner imbues him with enough humanity that you can empathise with the frightened child even while feeling frustrated and despairing at his repeated cowardice. By the end of the play you’re rooting for him to come good, despite all that’s gone before.
The Kite Runner is set against a background of civil war and the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan; it covers the Russian invasion of the country before moving to San Francisco in the 80s and back to Afghanistan. Director Giles Croft and the backstage crew do a fantastic job of bringing all these backgrounds to vivid life while the incredibly talented and hard-working cast earn their stripes taking on multiple roles to bring the tale to life, most notably Farshid Rokey as the doomed Hassan and Emilio Doorgasingh as Baba, a man you really believe once wrestled a bear.
By the time the play was over, I felt as though my heart had been wrenched from my chest and tramped on the ground. The Kite Runner is heartwrenching, but ultimately redeems itself. A must see.
On now at The Playhouse until 6 July.