Reviewed by Amy Adeliyi
What a truly moving and thought-provoking evening we had watching the Nottingham Playhouse and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse production of ‘The Kite Runner’ written by Khaled Hosseini and adapted by Matthew Spangler. I took my eldest Son (14 years) with me to watch the opening night performance at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, the theatre was packed.
Whilst the audience were settling into their seats, Hanif Khan (musician) began playing the Tabla which was fascinating to watch and listen to and really set the scene before the play began. He continued to play beautifully in various scenes throughout the performance.
The story is narrated by Amir within and in between scenes, telling the story of loyalty, friendship, family, political unrest, violence and love through the eyes of a boy and his friend.
The care-free childhood antics of two young boys was beautifully portrayed by Raj Ghatak (Amir) and Jo Ben Ayed (Hassan), fully immersing themselves in the characters of childhood friends it was believable even though they were adults in the role. You really felt the excitement of the kite competition and prestige that it would give Amir if he won it. You can see the guilt of Amir for not saving his friend and the unwavering love and loyalty of Hassan even after being victim to Aseef and his friends.
The stage was understated, with a few props being moved during scenes by the cast showing the change in scene. The use of projection on the large kite and skyline showed the different locations the scenes were based in. I particularly liked the way in which the kite fighting contest was shown on stage, the use of instruments to build the atmosphere was well thought out and created a real cultural experience with the rest of the cast building the intensity of the scenes by the sides of the stage.
The Mayflower is a lovely theatre, with polite welcoming staff. The theatre is close to rail and bus links and there is a plenty of parking close by.
I would definitely recommend seeing a performance of the Kite Runner, it was so interesting to see the cultural history of Afghanistan showed throughout the story and although hard hitting with particular scenes it was professionally interpreted for the stage. Its prompted me to go out and read the book, and definitely raised various discussions with my son around the culture and history of Afghanistan. I would agree that 14 years old is the lower age limit recommended for seeing the performance as it does contain upsetting adult content and does spark conversations that some parents may not wish to discuss. That being said my son enjoyed the humour within the performance and was pleased he got to experience it on stage.
I would love to watch future performances of the kite runner and would give the production 5*.
Tickets cost from £19.50 to £32.50 (booking fees may apply).
The Kite Runner is at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton from 24-28 April 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.mayflower.org.uk or call the box office on 02380 711811.
Mayflower Theatre, Commercial Road, Southampton, SO15 1GE | 02380 711811