Theatre in Wales

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The production does create its world colourfully and honestly.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini adapted by Matthew Spangler.

Nottingham Playhouse & Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse a , Theatr Clwyd, Mold. , March-31-18
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini adapted by Matthew Spangler. by Nottingham Playhouse & Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse a I must have been one of the few people in the audience at Mold who had never read Khaled Hosseini's novel on which this play is based. I knew that it was at least partially set in Afghanistan and that was about all.

In essence it's the story of two young boys growing up together, narrated by one of them, now adult and living in America. Their lives are a mixture of rich and poor, religious schisms, literate and illiterate and loyalty and betrayal. Those lives are set against the turbulent history of Afghanistan, the Russian invasion and the traumatic years of the Taliban.

The play's main problem is trying to cram in all of the book's plot. The first half which covers the boyhood years is fine, there's a great feeling of friendship between the two and there are lovely details about life in Afghanistan before the troubles set in. After the interval though it all becomes more diffuse as the scene moves to America before shifting back to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Scenes about American customs, hospitals and shops then about Taliban run orphanages, local bullies and immigration problems try to cram too much in with a steady loss of impetus.

None of this is a reflection on the large cast who give it their all. Raj Ghatak is excellent as Amir, both as child and adult. Jo Ben Ayed matches him nicely as both Hassan and Sorab, humble yet strong.

For me the best performance comes from Gary Pillai as Amir's father, strong and opinionated at home, out of his depth in America and disturbingly convincing when dying of cancer.

Hanif Khan's on stage tabla drumming magnificently shows off Jonathan Girling's atmospheric percussive score.

The cast are sincere in their playing and the production does create its world colourfully and honestly. I just wish it had been tighter, sharper and faster in its writing.

Reviewed by: Victor Hallett

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