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Confession first – I came to American Matthew Spangler’s efficient adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s 2003 bestseller without having either read one of the millions of copies sold or seen the film that followed in 2007, so knew virtually nothing about the plot apart from its initial location.

This story of privileged Amir (who is desperate for the approval and love of his wealthy widowed Pashtun father) and his loyal childhood playmate, Hassan (the Hazara son of their servant) flashes back over a quarter of a century from California to Kabul in the 1970’s when Amir, who narrates, was just twelve. It charts the developments in their relationship against the backdrop of the political upheaval of their homeland and, later, the remorse that drives Amir to finally put right a boyhood act of moral cowardice.

Giles Croft’s serviceable production takes a while to grip – the script falls too often into the trap of “telling” rather than “showing.” But as Andrei Costin’s Hassan repeatedly displays his unswerving devotion to Ben Turner’s Amir, there are some truly touching moments and, ultimately, it is impossible not to be moved as fortunes change, Amir wrestles with his conscience, and Hassan suffers terribly at the hands of the local bully.

Clever lighting turns Barney George’s simple design from kite running country to San Francisco skyline, and on-stage tabla player  Hanif Khan adds further atmosphere … more than enough to make me want to fish out my as yet unread copy of Hosseini’s book and probe a bit deeper into the inner thoughts of the characters he created,

Wyndhams, Charing Cross Road WC2H 0DA

Tube: Leicester Square

Until 11th March 2017  

£12.50 - £59.50 + Premium seats


Theatre Review: The Kite Runner
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