Sunday, May 26

The Kite Runner – Liverpool Playhouse

Settling into a packed auditorium, there was a palpable expectation. Another world class story has been taken to the stage and I was keen to see if it was going to work. Hanif Khan takes his place at the front of the stage. A hush descends, but the play is yet to start. Filling the space with sound, he plays his tabla drums with gentle tenacity, bringing the Liverpool crowd into another world. This musical intro is something familiar to theatre goers that can go one of two ways, either the performance that follows is over-acted to the point where our presence in this new world is glaringly false or where we are truly transported. I’m glad to say this performance is of the latter.

Amongst frequent soundscapes made by performers, this production aptly delivers the essence of Khaled Hosseini’s novel. The innocence and friendship between Hassan (Stanton Wright) and Amir (Stuart Vincent) is undying and visceral. The presence and energy these performers keep is admirable, not budging as they play in and out of ages, countries, and languages.

Photo: Joan Marcus

The delicacy of the relationship between these boys is framed by a set as tender. Playing a different culture is a difficult task, as I mentioned before, but it became very clear that the company took the time to explore with openness and consideration, aided by a Cultural Advisor (Humaira Ghilzai).

A story as relevant as this one, discussing family diaspora and war displacement needs powerful delivery, and Baba (Dean Rehman) is the central source of this. Baba commanded the space with flair, so much so that as his journey changes in Act 2 that his slow depletion is truly and painfully felt. A performance arc that is challenging to consider let alone deliver and so more impressive to witness.

The connection between cast members is striking, a true team effort to create this tale. Light and gentle are most scenes whilst you wait for the sucker punch. The audience is truly taken. As this production is so strong, pace does seem to drop in a few moments, yet that is testament to the power of the remainder of the story. 

An important story and a fantastic portrayal of it. This production is well worth your time. Playing at The Liverpool Playhouse until this Saturday (27th), you can still buy tickets here:

Reviewer: Hannah Esnouf

Reviewed: 23rd April 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.