kite top

Stuart Vincent as Amir with Tiran Aakel and Amar Aggoun. Picture: Barry Rivett

The Kiterunner

Malvern Theatres


This gripping dramatisation of Khaled Hosseini’s novel is an outstanding theatrical achievement. The novel has a long and complex plot and capturing this in a stage production is a challenge that is well met in this performance.

The story is of two young Afghan boys who are inseparable at the outset. One, Amir, is the privileged son of a successful landowner and businessman. The other, Hassan, is the son of the father’s servant who has the remarkable and distinct gift of being an outstanding kite-runner, or kite retriever. He enables Amir to win the prize at the kite-running tournament in Kabul.

However, this success provokes the jealousy of some local bullies whose vile conduct brings about a severance in the boys’ close friendship owing to Amir’s cowardice.

The story unfolds across decades in which Afghanistan experiences civil conflict, the Soviet invasion and the brutality of the Taliban regime thereafter. Amir and his father escape as refugees to the USA, but Amir’s guilt and shame and his struggle to sense his father’s approval are powerfully dramatised through Amir’s role as both narrator and protagonist.

The atmosphere of the evening is immediately established by the Afghan playing the drums, and later other percussion instruments, as the audience are entering the auditorium. His talent evoked spontaneous applause as the play begins. He was responsible for powerful sound effects throughout the performance. 

Stuart Vincent (Amir) and Yasdan Qafouri (Hassan) communicate the boys’ childishness at the outset and develop their physical performance to establish their later development. Yasdan’s stillness and enduring loyalty under the worst provocation is very moving.

Dean Rehman plays the part of Amir’s father, Baba, brilliantly, ageing as the show develops. Daphne Kouma is Soraya, Amir’s loyal wife when he matures in the USA. Likewise her performance was excellent.

The performance of the cast is very well set against a simple but effective set designed by Barney George reflecting the skyline of San Francisco; the use of giant wings flown in from above at certain moments was brilliant. The kite theme was similarly conveyed well by projections, mime and occasional physical props. Giles Croft brings the whole production together in a supremely successful show.

The universal themes of friendship, loyalty, hypocrisy, cowardice, guilt and shame, forgiveness, redemption and new hope are powerfully explored in this very emotional, passionate and dramatic production with moments of extreme poignancy. The play runs at Malvern till Saturday 1st June.

Tim Crow


Index page Malvern Reviews A-Z Reviews by Theatre