The Kite Runner
Rating: ★★★★
Venue: Richmond Theatre
Cast: Stuart Vincent, Dean Rehman, Bhavin Bhatt, Tiran Aakel, Ian Abeyesekera, Christopher Glover, Stanton Wright, Hanif Khan, Yazdan Qafouri, Daphne Kouma and Amar Aggoun

Direct from Broadway, The Kite Runner, an outstanding and unforgettable theatrical tour de force is returning to the UK in 2024.

Based on Khaled Hosseini’s international bestselling novel, this haunting tale of friendship spans cultures and continents and follows one man’s journey to confront his past and find redemption.

The Kite Runner
follows the lives of two young Muslim boys, living together in a village in Afghanistan, but leading very different lives. Amir and Hassan live in the same house, but life means very different things to them both. Amir and his father are Sunni Muslims, slightly differing beliefs that caused division within the religion and left some with superiority and others with nothing. Residing in their home were Hassan and his father, Shia Muslims, stripped of their rights and dignity based on their religious practice, and deemed not to be ‘true Afghans’. I was truly surprised at how much of this history I was previously ignorant to. The show was a combination of narrative and live retelling, and seamlessly switched between the two in a way I have never seen achieved before.

A gorgeous atmosphere was created by Hanif Khan giving a preshow performance with his Tabla, a traditional Indian instrument with ambiguous origins but a very clear understanding of its complexity and the skill required. There was a variety of other percussion instruments used throughout the show including Tibetan Singing Bowls, which really combined to create a rich atmosphere throughout the space.

Something that really stuck out to me was the use of multiple languages throughout the piece. There were often times when characters would have full conversations and while we didn’t necessarily understand the dialogue, the movement and intonation meant it didn’t really matter that we didn’t understand the dialogue, as the audience were still clear on what was happening.

The set and props were extremely minimal, which not only lends itself to the practicality of a touring production, but also makes suggestions about the type of environment. Lighting designer Charles Barfour creates depth and atmosphere using the cyc, while William Simpson’s projections complement Barney George’s set design. I thought that the costumes were fairly unremarkable, until the wedding scene where they absolutely stole the show. 

The Kite Runner lends itself to a live production in unimaginably gorgeous ways. It’s a heart-breaking exploration of trauma and truth, a blunt retelling of historical horror through the eyes of a child. The show draws a many numbers of parallels with the state of the world as we know it now, and another harsh reminder of how imperative it is for these stories to be told over and over again until the world listens. It is a stark look into the true extent and fragility of human life; a harsh reminder of to consider everything we have to lose and to truly consider whether the sacrifices are worth it. This show is an absolute must see.

You can book tickets to see The Kite Runner on it's UK tour, here.

Review by Rachel

**photography by: Barry Rivett for Hotshot Photography**

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