Reviewed by Kathryn Harrison
On Tuesday night (27 February 2018) a friend and I headed to Liverpool’s Playhouse theatre for the opening night of The Kite Runner. With both of us being fans of Khaled Hosseini’s book by the same name we were intrigued to see how this epic novel would be adapted for the stage.
Upon entering the theatre we were greeted by the sounds of tabla player Hanif Khan performing live on stage as the audience took to their seats, he stayed on stage throughout the performance adding to the intensity of the on stage drama. When the play began we were introduced to the protagonist of the story, Amir played superbly by Raj Ghatak. Amir tells of his 1970’s childhood in a peaceful Afghanistan with his friend Hassan, played by Jo Ben Ayed, however this idyllic life was to come to an abrupt end following an encounter with local bully Assef, played by Siroosh Lavasini. Lavasini’s portrayal of sociopath Assef was flawless, he totally embodied the sinister nature of Assef’s character and personally gave me chills everytime he was on stage. For me he was the standout performance of the night.
Anyone who has read The Kite Runner knows this is a complex story with a lot of different events and themes occurring, however these storylines were handled sensitively whilst still maintaining the shock and emotion felt when reading the book for the first time. There were audible gasps and sounds of people crying within the audience which is testament to the quality of all the actors ability to convey the drama of the written story. As with all adaptations of a well loved book certain details had been omitted or changed but overall I felt this adaptation by Matthew Spangler was very true to the original tale.
This play is a highly charged story with multiple themes running through it, which are handled beautifully by the cast and creative team. Whether you are familiar with the story or not I promise if you go to watch this you will not be disappointed, don’t forget your tissues though!
Tickets cost from £10 to £35 (booking fees may apply).
The Kite Runner is at the Liverpool Playhouse from 27 February to 3 March 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.everymanplayhouse.com or call the box office on 0151 709 4776