It started life as a book before being turned into an award-winning film in 2007 and now Khaled Hosseini’s best-selling novel The Kite Runner, has come to the stage at Dubai Opera in electrifying style.
Adapting a much-loved book for the stage can be a bit of a double-edged sword: on the one hand, playwright Matthew Spangler knew he was taking a hugely popular novel to bring in the audiences, but with that comes the risk of disappointing fans of the original novel.
From an audience point of view expectations are high, and concerns swirl around whether a two and a half hour play will do this modern classic justice. It does.
The show opens with the story’s main protagonist, Amir played by David Ahmad, who narrates the story (how he managed to learn all those lines without a faltering once, we don’t know).
The story is told entirely from Amir’s perspective as he explains that he is living in San Francisco, before taking us back to his fateful childhood in 1970s Kabul that shaped the person he has become today.
It’s a heart-breaking tale and we feel every emotion that Amir goes through as he fights with his conscience and tries desperately to be the man his domineering father wants him to be.
The emotional story set in Afghanistan, a divided country on the verge of war, tells a haunting tale of two little boys from very different backgrounds who form a strong bond.
But their friendship is tested and the story covers the multiple betrayals that take place over a number of years, ultimately showing one man’s journey to find redemption from atrocities in his past.
The use of live sound is wonderful, incorporating winding kite spools and singing bowls – an excellently eerie noise that rings through the theatre.
The mood is set by a live tabla player on a stage that is dominated by a fan-shaped kite on which moving projections feature to provide the atmospheric backdrop.
The production is thoughtful and moving, brought to life vividly by a cast of incredibly talented actors whose performances can’t be faulted. (Meet Bhavin Bhatt who plays the nasty Assef ) As the curtain comes down on the end of the mesmerising story, we don’t want it to end. Neither, by all accounts, do the rest of the packed out audience.
As Amir takes his final bow, the audience are on their feet, not a dry eye in the house.
The power of the production and the individual performances blow us away.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve read the book or seen the film, you need to see the stage adaption that is on at Dubai Opera until Saturday February 29.
This performance packs a seriously powerful punch, a truly stunning interpretation of this incredible story.
For some fun facts about the production, check these out.
From Dhs350. Fri Feb 28 3pm & 8pm, Sat Feb 29 3pm & 8pm. Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, www.dubaiopera.com.