Review of ‘The Kite Runner’ at King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
The Kite Runner/Theatrical Review
The importance of storytelling is often dismissed in this day and age. We are keen to find out information, to be kept up to date with worldly happenings and current theories, but the way in which we learn of such occurrences is regularly deemed irrelevant. Our curiosity is seldom provoked - this is, in my honest opinion, quite worrying. However, watching Matthew Spangler’s adaptations of The Kite Runner, I sat there with a sense of euphoria - I was truly being told a story; a cultural, heart-warming, thought-provoking story. And for that, I was thankful.
In adapting Khaled Hosseini’s novel, Spangler prioritises simplicity. As a novel, Spangler describes The Kite Runner as being “a story about a father and son; a story about two best friends; a story about the relative peace in Afghanistan in the 1970s; and, above all a story of guilt and redemption”. Yet, Spangler aims to make the play as clear as possible while still appreciating these complexities of the book. His adaptation tells the story of Amir who retrospectively looks back on the events that led him to live as a refugee in California. Specifically, Amir contemplates growing up as a privileged Sunni Muslim child in 1970s Kabul with his father Baba, and the days that he spent with his servant, Hassan.
The director, Giles Croft, and designer, Barney George (alongside all other artistic designers involved in the play), have a clear appreciation of this, ensuring that their presentation of different locations was distinct and concise. The backdrop is a mixture of both the mechanical debris of Afghanistan, and the high-rise buildings of America. The central carpet was both a depiction of wealth, signifying ‘Baba’s’ office, and a location of dismay; the platform from which Baba and Amir waved goodbye to their beloved servants for the last time. All very powerful images making this an intelligent set design, and one which was combined with the talent of the actors.
One bold directorial move is the decision to have David Ahmad play both Amir’s younger self and the American-accented adult he grows up to be. This choice provides the audience with a detailed insight into the confused emotions of Amir, inviting onlookers to appreciate the way in which the character has changed over time. The technique also revealed the...