West Yorkshire Playhouse
Until November 8
Box Office 0113 213 7700.
I’ve read the book and seen the film so I had some idea of what to expect when I went to the West Yorkshire Playhouse see Matthew Spangler’s interpretation of Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner.
But, even so, I was totally unprepared for just how incredibly moved I was by the production and how well director Giles Croft manages to portray the complexities of the emotive narrative.
Amir (Ben Turner) lives with his widowed businessman father, his servant Ali (Ezra Khan) and Ali’s son Hassan (Andrei Costin) in a calm and tranquil Afghanistan in the mid-70s. The two boys are brought up like brothers but they can never be equals; Amir comes from a wealthy Pashtun family and Hassan is a servant and a member of the minority Hazaras.
They laugh, play and tumble together, Amir reads to Hassan and Hassan worships Amir unreservedly. But on the day of the annual kite flying festival something so unimaginable awful happens that the boys’ friendship is severed; Hassan and his father move away and Amir spends the rest of his life feeling guilty about the part he played. One day though he is given a chance to assuage his guilt and make some amends for the crimes committed by his younger self. But will he do the right thing?
Turner plays Amir both as a young boy and a man and morphs seamlessly between the two. He is a quite remarkable actor and gauges the nuances of a 12-year-old with startling accuracy. Costin, here making his professional UK stage debut, is a convincing Hassan, humble and proud and willing to put himself in danger when called upon to protect his friend.
Emillio Doorgassingh as Amir’s father Baba is also worth a mention as is Nicholas Karimi who plays the bully Assef with chilling brutality.