12 March 2020

The Kite Runner at Richmond Theatre was magical

I had heard of, but never read the book, and that basic awareness was enough to convince me to go and see the touring stage show when it hit Richmond. These shows usually have a high standard of production and know what they have to do to entertain. My ATG Theatre Card again proved useful and I got £5 off my usual seat Dress Circle A25 making it only £28.25, well within my don't-even-think-about-it range.

In the days before I spent most of my time in bed with seasonal flu listening to endless radio reports about corona virus and I was glad to be able to finally get out of the house. Fully aware of both my condition and potential risk from others I did some cautions social distancing by, for example, going into the theatre late to avoid the crush in the lobby and not taking my seat (almost on the aisle) until the last moment.

Almost all I knew about The Kite Runner was that it was set in Kabul and thanks to several significant events, and Rambo III, I at least knew something of the geo-political context. That helped.

The story that unfolded was not that distant from, say, The Far Pavilions, in that it was the story of one man growing up in an exotic country (from our perspective) that is facing conflict, it spanned several countries and had lots of violent and a few tender events along the way. For some reason it also reminded me of Thomas Hardy!

Like The Far Pavilions and Thomas Hardy the story gripped me from start to finish, even though it was impossible to sympathise with the main character who was also the story's narrator. He did some pretty bad things early on and while they drove the story into some unexpected directions they also made the hero a villain.

While we are on the subject of minor gripes, it also annoyed me slightly that the actor playing the Kabul boy/man was not very ethnic looking when a lot of the supporting cast were. As usual the Richmond Theatre website does not give the actor's name which is a shame because, his colour apart, he did a great job and fully deserved the ovation he got at the end.

As hoped, the production was excellent with several nice touches including a musician on stage throughout and a pair of cloth sheets, shaped like a kite, that were used to project images on to. The movement was excellent too with the cast gently rearranging things to make different scenes from a simple set.

The Kite Runner was everything that I had hoped for and more. It was a magical evening.

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