Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Nottingham Playhouse

A very welcome return to the Nottingham Playhouse for the play adapted by Matthew Spangler from the book written by Khaled Hosseini about Amir, a young Afghanistan man, who manages to escape the horrors of Afghanistan in the 70's and the Taliban.

Having not seen the play before, seen the film or read the book, I was completely oblivious of the story apart from the bit of research on the play and the author prior to the show. With no expectations set in my mind I sat back to experience one of the most enjoyable, at times shocking, powerful play I have seen in a long while.

While some may see the play as a story of guilt, this is a play about love, loyalty, friendship, fear, family as well as betrayal of friendship and while the play is set around Afghanistan and it's issues at that time, take that out of the equation and this play transcends any race or religion with the other sub issues.

At times this play will make you take an intake of breath, will leave you shocked, angry and feel hatred and other times you will be laughing and almost admiring the sort of relationship Amir had with his servant/best friend Hassan. The kind that best friends have when they both grow up together from babies, but how this friendship deteriorated is the crux of this amazing story and the repercussions caused by Hassan's betrayal by his best friend.

That is only half of the story, and the second half is what happens to Amir afterwards and his struggle through life and his wrestling with his conscience to do what he feels to be the right thing in recompense for his betrayal.

And then there is the relationship between Amir and his father, Amir's yearning to impress his father, and his wish to just gain the recognition that a son looks for from his father.

The play is amazingly good on so many different levels and is delivered by an equally amazing set of actors, Ben Turner as Amir smoothly moves from being an adult back into the mind set of an 11 year old boy, playfully cavorting around the stage, playing out his, and Hassan's love of western movies, and then back to being a sensible and troubled adult as the role of story teller.

Andrei Costin makes his professional stage debut in "The Kite Runner" as Hassan and doubling as Sohrah, Hassan's son in the second half and delivers a very emotive piece of theatre characterization in his role.

I'm not going to mention all the actors, mainly because they were all so incredibly good, but two others did slightly stand out for me, Emilio Doorgasingh as Baba and Nicholas Karimi as Assef, the nasty piece of work at play here in this play.

The sets were simple but so very effective in transporting you to where the play wanted to take you and some brilliant and evocative music played live on stage by the very talented Hanif Khan. Both adding to the ambience of the era and the settings for the piece.

I always say that unless a piece of theatre doesn't leave you with some sort of emotions to take away from the theatre, then it has not done it's job. I can confirm that this piece of theatre does it's job and so much more, which I am sure is also partly due to the direction of Mr Giles Croft.

"The Kite Runner" is at the Nottingham Playhouse until Saturday 6 September 2014

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