Sunday, July 14

The Kite Runner – Storyhouse Chester

Based on Khaled Hosseini’s bestselling novel, The Kite Runner visits the Storyhouse, Chester as part of its UK tour after receiving international acclaim in both the West End and on Broadway. The story follows one man’s journey spanning cultures and continents to confront his past and find redemption.

Adapted by Matthew Spangler and Directed by Giles Croft, we are transported to Afghanistan, who are on the verge on war, on a wonderful afternoon in Kabul during a kite flying tournament. Full of excitement with the skies full of colour, no one can foresee what is about to happen and how it will tear friends and family apart for good.

The story, told through the eyes of Amir, portrayed brilliantly by Stuart Vincent, who jumps in and out of the action, both narrating and playing the character through the many years and versions of Amir. As a child, Amir loves spending time with Hassan, playing in the streets and reading him stories. Hassan, brought to life by the incredible Yazdan Qafouri, is naïve but extremely loyal, he will do anything for Amir and his ‘friendship’ but will Amir return the favour and be there for Hassan when needs to be. Amir is a great Kite flyer, taking part in Kite flying festivals and Hassan is Amir’s Kite Runner, the best there is, who will run to find the opponents cut down kite and take it back to the winner.

Amir is a Pashtun boy whereas Hassan is a Hazara, where Pashtun’s are believed to be above the Hazara and should not mix. Hassan is the son of Ali (Tiran Aakel) who is the servant of Baba (Dean Rehman). Qafouri is a standout in this story, with wonderful humour, innocence and the ability to make the audience want to protect him, both as Hassan and later in the story when he plays Sohrab.

Photo: Barry Rivett for Hotshot Photography

Assef (Bhavin Bhatt) and his group of thug friends believe that Pashtun’s and Hazara’s should not be socialising and regularly mocks Amir for socialising with Hassan.

On the day of the Kite festival, the loyalty between Amir and Hassan is pushed to the boundaries and we see how loyal Amir is, pulling everything Hassan knew to be apart and changing their future forever.

After the fall of the Afghanistan monarchy through the Soviet invasion, Baba and Amir flee Afghanistan through Pakistan to eventually settle in America. But will everything turn out well for Amir? Will his life be good, and will he be forgiven for his past?

When Amir receives a call telling him to go back to his former childhood country, as ‘There is a way to be good again,’ will he go back and will he find redemption? Can he make things right and move on?

The whole cast work hard together to bring this story to life and sends the audience through a multitude of emotions, using different types of instruments on stage and a Tabla player (Hanif Khan) who is on stage for the majority of the play, adding atmosphere and tension. Khan is brilliant to watch preshow, showing his talent at playing the Tabla with skill.

The set for The Kite Runner is simple with projections (William Simpson) used extremely well to carry the story along and effective use of lighting (Charles Balfour). There were a few times where I felt it was a little dark or where side lighting was used but the actors were stood in a way where their faces were left in darkness as they were shadowing each other.

The costumes were wonderful and helped us when moving through the countries and the decades, moving with the times. Well done to Elizabeth Dennis.

The Kite Runner is an incredible piece of theatre and told exquisitely by this wonderful company.

The Kite Runner is playing at Storyhouse, Chester until Saturday 30th March 2024. Tickets available at www.storyhouse.com/whats-on/the-kite-runner/

Reviewer: Damian Riverol

Reviewed: 26th March 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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