Review: The Kite Runner, The Hawth

RAJ GHATAK (Amir) and JO BEN AYED (Hassan) - Photo Betty Zapata
RAJ GHATAK (Amir) and JO BEN AYED (Hassan) - Photo Betty Zapata

Adapting a well-loved novel to a stage play is never an easy thing.

And adapting a bestseller which has also been a critically-acclaimed film is even tougher. But Matthew Spangler's adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner has done it with huge success.

RAJ GHATAK (Amir)  and JO BEN AYED (Hassan) - Photo Betty Zapata

RAJ GHATAK (Amir) and JO BEN AYED (Hassan) - Photo Betty Zapata

Following an outstanding West End run, this unforgettable theatrical tour-de-force has come to the Hawth Theatre in Crawley.

This haunting tale of friendship which spans cultures and continents, follows one man’s journey to confront his past and find redemption.

Afghanistan is a divided country on the verge of war and two childhood friends are about to be torn apart. It’s a beautiful afternoon in Kabul and the skies are full of the excitement and joy of a kite flying tournament.

But neither Hassan (Jo Ben Ayed) nor Amir (Raj Ghatak) can foresee the terrible incident which will shatter their lives forever. This pivotal moment (don't worry, no spoilers here) which turns the play on it's head is harrowing but done very well.

RAJ GHATAK (Amir) and cast - Photo Betty Zapata

RAJ GHATAK (Amir) and cast - Photo Betty Zapata

Ghatak as Amir acts as narrator and protagonist and portrays shame, anger and hope brilliantly but it's Jo Ben Ayed as Hassan, then Sorab, who steals the show with a heart-breaking performance,

The only jarring point for me was when Ghatak and Ayed portrayed the pair as children playing - it was no Blood Brothers in that sense.

But the kite flying moments are done beautifully and the music throughout, thanks to an ever present Hanif Khan, provides the atmosphere, along with some inventive lighting with the use of huge kites.

This is a thought-provoking and at times harrowing play that will stay with you for hours, if not days, after seeing it. A great production.

The Kite Runner is on at the Hawth Theatre until Saturday - to book tickets click here
Running time: 2hrs 30mins

Tickets: Tue-Thu 7.30pm: £29.50. Wed & Sat 2.30pm: £25.50. Fri & Sat 7.30pm: £31.50

Discounts (Tue-Thu 7.30pm): £3 off, Over 60s : £4 off.

Wed & Sat 2.30pm: Over 60s: £2 off.

Groups 10 or more: £5 off at all performances.

Suitable ages 15+ (PG)