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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Flutsch

The Kite Runner: The Nottingham Playhouse and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse

★★★★★


Review: The Kite Runner, on tour throughout the UK until July 2024. Our reviewer attended the opening night of the Oxford leg of the tour on 30 April 2024.

[Disclosure: Our reviewer received free tickets, and a free programme for the purposes of this review.]

The Kite Runner

Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner has been adapted both for film and the theatre. The theatrical production is now on its UK tour – and last night was Oxford’s opening night.

 

Set in Afghanistan during the 70s and 80s, The Kite Runner spans significant historical events such as the Soviet invasion and the rise of the Taliban.   The story follows the friendship between two young boys – Amir, a privileged Pashtun, and his servant, Hassan, who belongs to the marginalised Hazara ethnic group. While the story has many strands, ultimately, it’s a story about guilt and the search for redemption and forgiveness.

The Kite Runner
Stuart Vincent playing Amir, and Yazdan Qafouri playing Hassan

The production, which has been meticulously and carefully adapted,  is a triumph of collaboration between author Hosseini, playwright Matthew Spangler, director Giles Croft and composer Jonathan Girling.  The music is particularly atmospheric – with much of it live, including an extraordinary performance of the tabla, the Indian drums, played live on stage by virtuoso musician Hanif Khan.  Khan’s exceptional performance throughout is intensely evocative – and is primarily responsible for the immersive nature of the production. 

The Kite Runner
Musician Hanif Khan, plays the tabla live throughout.

Other instruments played live throughout include the schwirrbogen, a kind of hand held wind whistling instrument, and singing bowls – which were used to create long, drawn out notes to represent moments of extreme stress


The Kite Runner
The instrument called schwirrbogen.

The sets are outstanding – simple but evocative – with clever use of screen projections.  Every single performance is wonderful, with outstanding performances by the two main characters Stuart Vincent, playing privileged Amir, and Yazdan Qafouri playing the loving servant Hassan.   

The Kite Runner

It makes me so happy to see such ambitious and artistically rich productions, with large casts and excellent production values gracing our theatres. The Oxford Playhouse was packed to the rafters on Tuesday night – so these types of thoughtful and risky productions are not only artistically beautiful, but profitable too.  Wonderful news for UK audiences!

The Kite Runner

This production is something special – it’s immersive, beautiful, and thought provoking.

 

If you enjoyed reading this review, you might enjoy reading other posts about shows on at the Oxford Playhouse.

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