The Kite Runner, Wyndham's Theatre | Review

Friday 13 January 2017

The Kite Runner is a heartfelt, compelling and painfully beautiful story of betrayal, guilt and redemption.

The Kite Runner
Wyndham's Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 12th January 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

Based on the 2003 novel of the same name, The Kite Runner is a story of family, friendship, betrayal, guilt and redemption, told beautifully in a brutally honest and poetic way.

Set in Afghanistan on the brink of war, The Kite Runner follows friends Amir and Hassan as they discover the cost of betrayal against the backdrop of a kite flying competition which tears their friendship apart and leaves both forever changed. 

The story itself is very simple to follow but there are a number of intricacies within it, such as the turbulent relationship with Amir and his father as well as the ins and out of Hassan and Amir's loyalty to one another. The simplicity with which it's told on stage creates an authentic feeling and allows the focus to remain on the characters and their complex lives. Barney George's set manages to enhance the script whilst creating a visible flow on stage.

The piece is more of a series of events rather than one story from beginning to end but it still manages to flow in a poetic and beautiful way. Matthew Spangler has created a truly stunning adaptation. Each moment is extremely powerful and the audience could be felt physically holding their breath; especially when Hassan is terribly and violently attacked by Assef. 

Played chillingly by Nicholas Karimi, Assef is the embodiment of darkness. He initially appears to be your normal, taunting bully but it soon becomes clear how twisted and evil he is. Karimi gives a horrifyingly realistic performance.

Ben Turner's performance as Amir is painful but beautiful to watch. It is easy for the audience to feel his every emotion as he struggles through dealing with his grief and guilt. Andrei Costin as the naive and loving Hassan works perfectly with Turner and the story feels like watching real life play out in front of ones eyes.

The Kite Runner will certainly leave a mark on everyone who sees it. It really is a lesson in dealing with the consequences of our actions. This play, lasting almost three hours is worth every second. Truly provoking, emotional and powerful.