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The Kite Runner, Playhouse Theatre

Published by: Douglas McFarlane on 25th Jun 2017 | View all blogs by Douglas McFarlane

Kite Runner

 

I'd seen the film, and a colleague reviewing for another site had read the book. Both of us sat at opposite ends in the front row of the lovely Playhouse Theatre handy for Embankment Station.

We hadn't realised each other were there until the break. A few weeks earlier we had met on the set of a commercial we were both cast in, and realised through talking that we both lived in the same home town of Teddington. After watching it we were both enthused and motivated to write great reviews as we discussed it in detail going back over the bridge to Waterloo station with fantastic views towards the House Of Parliament and the London Eye.

It's a great night at the theatre and highly recommended from two reviewers.

What's it about ? 

It's a father-son story, to a background of war, touching on bullying and immigration. But most of all it's about friendship. With parallels to Blood Brothers, it tells the story with narration, of two young friends growing up in a household in Afghanistan. Each of them are from different social and religious backgrounds. They both have a love of the sport of kite running and their skill and passion brings them closer together.

Kite Runner's strength is it's story telling. The author had clearly close understanding of the subject and grew up in a similar environment so there has always been some speculation as to it's auto-biographical nature.

This production is brilliant. All carefully considered and thoughtful use of sounds, lights and shadows to represent the story and make it a visual delight from a simple set. A cast that interacts wonderfully with the narration and a beautiful and delicate flow throughout the play showcases the amazing talents of the production and technical team. From the amazing hypnotic sound of the timbala player, to the cast playing notes on some sort of mortar and pestle, to the shadows lighting the background telling part of the story or showing an active crowded backdrop.

There's some great talent in all the cast, many of them having to double up with different characters and actors but each delivering great nuances and visible emotions drawing you into their pain. Especially from the front row. 

There's no doubt the star of the show is David Ahmad. He has a lot of work to do being onstage for the entire play, narrating the story in one tone of voice, then switching to either young or older versions, and displaying a wide range of emotions wonderfully. He does in a subtle way. No big dramatic stage presence or vocal projection was needed. It was almost film acting on stage, where the more subtle your move or facial expression, the better the performance. 

I hope Kite Runner will win some well deserved acclaim and keep running and running. It teaches us a lot about today's modern world. It challenges our relationships with our loved ones as well as strangers. It makes us think about religion, war and the impact they have on real people around the world. Kite Runner manages to be happy, sad and funny and thought-provoking. What more do you want from a West End play.  

Get booking if you want to see it in London because it moves to Glasgow in September and then Brighton.

 

Find tickets on ATG's site.

 

Review by Douglas McFarlane

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