Review: The Kite Runner, Nottingham Playhouse

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THE heartbreaking and poignant story of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner has stayed with me ever since reading it a few years ago.

It could be difficult to realise the plot detail, characterisation and emotion that is explored in the novel in a play, but this new joint production between Nottingham Playhouse and the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, does a truly excellent job in translating all three of these aspects onto the stage.

The Kite Runner tells the story of the childhood friendship of Amir and his servant/ best friend Hassan, as they grow up in 1970s Afghanistan.

Their relationship hinges on a fateful day when Amir fails to stand up for his friend - and then suffers deep guilt and shame that destroy both their lives as they know them.

Casualty star Ben Turner, as Amir, does an outstanding job telling the tale.

He seemlessly switches from narrator to actor as the script demands, keeping the audience informed as to how the story is progressing while portraying the personal anguish that Amir experiences.

Farshid Rokey is a perfect Hassan, doting on Amir and selflessly sacrificing himself for his friend with a touching but frustrating dignity.

Other stand out performances include Emilio Doorgasingh as the proud and courageous Baba and Nicholas Karimi, as the repulsive Assef.

The staging of the kite competitions is done in an imaginative way, with actors using props to create a convincing and effective wind sound.

Musician Hanif Khan, who sits on the stage throughout, adds to the Afghan ambience with his tabla drum playing.

A rapturous round of applause from the audience was fully deserved for a tremendous performance.

The Kite Runner is on at the Playhouse until 18th May.