The form of identity considers religion, parentage and political position, all constructs cleverly explored in The Kite Runner, currently being performed at the Arts Theatre Cambridge. From Khaled Hosseini’s bestselling novel comes an international stage show full of passion and humility.
Transgressing cultures and continents, a haunting tale of friendship which questions ‘can a bad act be reconciled?’ Constructed as a series of chronological life events, the audience follow one man’s journey to confront his past and find redemption. Set in a recognisable conflicted Afghanistan, the country is divided, on the verge of war and two childhood friends are about to be torn apart.
A warm hue ignites the stage, the sky is full of competing kites, the imagery of a war stricken population in the form of traditional Kabul sport. As they cut the strings of competing kites, neither Hassan nor Amir can foresee the terrible incident which will shatter their lives forever. Running, they search for the fallen champion, but the kite is just the beginning.
A sensory design which grows with Amir’s experiences, we are eternally reminded of the ‘Kite’ with two cross cut sections upstage. Crossing oceans from Kabul to San Fransisco, the moveable set allows a journey of fluidity and pace. A ramp stage left is a playful device which provides engaging levels in act two. Live music is the beating organ of this production, nuancing the action with balanced intensity. Referring to Plato’s ‘music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul’, Composer and Musical Director Jonathan Girling connects rhythmic transitions and solemn moments of stillness, with an orchestra of traditional Asian instruments.
Centred around Amir’s experience the audience are forced to connect and recognise with his past, however the truth is often mis-delivered. At times the truth of his story feels distant, perhaps somewhat lost in the pace of storytelling. Sombre moments need more time to breathe, allowing the audience to invest in the emotional turbulence. However, Matthew Spangler’s adaptation gives the words to describe the human experience of being confronted with heartache and guilt. Whilst the direction provides a strong ensemble who support and create Amir’s vivid story. I leave the theatre considering the topical nature of this production, from identity to displacement. 3.5/5
Review written by Megan Mattravers.
The Kite Runner is currently showing until Saturday 30th September at the Arts Theatre Cambridge. For more information on the production, visit here…