Silver Travel Advisor were invited to review The Kite Runner. Here is our opinion of an excellent play.
The soft, rhythmic pulse of Afghan drumming from a musician seated on the stage, sets a comforting backdrop for this moving production of Khaled Hosseini’s coveted novel, The Kite Runner. Narrated by Amir in a frank, emotional, occasionally humorous and often devastatingly sad manner; the interaction that the show’s lead pursues with his audience is both compelling and sincere.
Matthew Spangler’s adaptation of the story cleverly intertwines Amir’s current, retrospective views on the events of his life with those of his younger self; having him play the child version of himself as he reminisces and tells stories of his past. At first, the juxtaposition between his mock child-like voice and mannerisms as he demonstrates his youthful naivety, and his immediate visual appearance as a fully grown man – dressed formally in a business shirt, seems unnatural and questionable, perhaps even inauthentic. However as the production progresses, the effectiveness and necessity of this concept becomes apparent. The audience are offered a unique insight into the internal struggle Amir faces between his lifelong longing for approval from his father, his inherently selfish and spoilt nature, and his underlying delicate and creative soul which yearns for understanding. By allowing the character of Amir to switch with ease between pouring his heart out to the audience, and re-enacting key moments from his childhood; Spangler has produced what feels like a raw and unprecedented access to his character’s psyche, which could not be achieved in such an emotionally charged way through the use of an additional actor to play out his memories for him.
A strong cast, supported by simple yet effective stage design, and authentic, understated costumes; sets the scene for a rich cultural journey into the hardships endured in recent years by the people of Afghanistan. Undisturbed by any pre-recorded backing music or excessive lighting; Spangler’s subtle production decisions enrich the sense that the story being told is one of raw emotion; with resounding messages of the importance of friendship and the power of loyalty.