This week I had the chance to see the UK tour of The Kite Runner. This was interesting to see as it is one of my English Lit texts and the novel doesn’t scream out as being one that should be on a stage. The novel translated fairly well on the stage but it wasn’t perfect. It definitely helped to have read the book before.
I found Act One to drag quite a bit because nothing much happens and then Act Two was rushed and a lot of events in the novel were skipped over. Despite this, the intense emotion of the novel definitely came across on the stage.
David Ahmad portrayed the central character of Amir very very well. The emotion really came through him and his narrations. Although the instant switches between being narrator and child didn’t particularly work for me. Jo Ben Ayed really captured the innocence of both the characters of Hassan and Sohrab and Bhavin Bhatt was perfectly horrid as Assef. Emilio Doorgasingh captured the character of Baba perfectly whilst Karl Seth did brilliantly in the roles of Rahim Khan, Dr Schneider and Omar Faisil, creating three very contrasting characters. Amiera Darwish gave a very strong performance in the role of Soraya and her on stage chemistry with David Ahmad was very believable, despite not being seen for very long due to the very fast paced nature of the second half of the play.
There was some very effective usage of lighting, as designed by Charles Balfour, and Barney George’s simplistic set design worked wonderfully. William Simpson’s projections were well crafted and effective at points and Jonathan Girling’s music, as performed by Hanif Khan and the ensemble cast, was very effective in creating the tone of the piece and moments of tension despite being quite repetitive. Philip D’Orleans’ fights were very powerful and believable and quite difficult to watch.
If you liked the book, it is definitely worth seeing this adaptation if you can, although don’t expect an exact page to stage translation. Generally, though, it was fairly accurate.
The Kite Runner is directed by Giles Croft and plays at Sheffield Lyceum until Saturday 21st October, before touring to Cheltenham, Bath, Brighton, Exeter, Oxford, Eastbourne, Crawley, Norwich, Mold, Hull, Guildford, Southampton, Newcastle, Aberdeen, Blackpool and Buxton.