Review: The Kite Runner at Newcastle Theatre Royal

Review: The Kite Runner at Newcastle Theatre Royal

This week the Kite Runner flies into town and I was lucky enough to be invited down to see this wonderful play. I hadn’t read the book or known much about it, so came in with fresh eyes with nothing to compare to. 

For some it clashed with the England game and so there were a few empty seats in the venue. Sadly for those that chose England you would have seen a far better performance on the stage of the Newcastle Theatre Royal, that’s for sure. 

The 2024 stage adaptation of The Kite Runner is based on Khaled Hosseini’s acclaimed novel, captivated our audience with its powerful storytelling and finished to a standing ovation The play, adapted by Matthew Spangler and directed by Giles Croft, follows Amir, a young man from a wealthy Pashtun family in 1970s Afghanistan, and his complex friendship with Hassan, his servant and a Hazara.

Set against the backdrop of a divided Afghanistan on the brink of war, the theme of show explores friendship, relationships, betrayal, and redemption. The story transitions from Amir’s childhood in Kabul, marked by a tragic incident during a kite flying tournament, to his life as an immigrant in America. As an adult, Amir has moved on from his past actions until he is called upon for assistance and through this seeks to make amends for his betrayals, particularly towards his childhood friend Hassan. This is a story of loyalty, fear and personal redemption.

Stuart Vincent plays our lead protagonist. Narrating his story throughout, he’s a constant presence on stage. He reverts from his adult self to younger child when recalling memories. We learn of his story with his best friend and servant Hassan played by Yazdan Qafouri, of which defines his life and friendship. One of which fear dictates outcomes and loyalty brings trauma. Later being presented an opportunity at maybe just maybe giving something back to repay that loyalty of best friend Ali. I found his performance to be emotional, captivating and engaging.  Vincent was able to bring me on a roller coaster of emotions in this and it’s not many shows you get to watch that do this. 

Supported by Yazdan Qafouri as said best friend Hassan, Qafouri played this loyal friend brilliantly. You felt nothing but pure emotion for what this characters fate was to hold.

Father Baba was a strict father with high expectations of his son and was portrayed well by Dean Rehman.

The staging  creates an immersive experience by effectively transitioning between the bustling streets of Kabul and the contrasting environment of America. This is achieved through a combination of set, lighting, sound, and projection designs that vividly depict these distinct locales.

All of the supporting cast play their roles and contribute effectively ensuring the play flows throughout.

I highly recommend going to see this if you get a chance. A highly deserved standig by ovation at the end and a truly remarkable watch. 

The Kite Runner plays Newcastle Theatre Royal Tue 25 – Sat 29 June. Tickets can be purchased at from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 0191 232 7010.

Reviews by Aaron Whittington

*Tickets gifted 

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