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The Kite Runner at Wyndham’s Theatre

Since its publication in 2003, ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Housseini has sold 31.5 million copies worldwide and has been adapted for both the big screen and the theatre. I am sure anyone who has seen it will agree that the film is terrrrible! I’m talking: dreadful, abominable, appallling, shameful, *insert any other synoynms you like*. Whoever directed that film should be imprisoned. The Kite Runner is one of the most beautifully written, emotive stories of all time and, prior to this weekend, it seemed no other medium other than words could do it justice. With this in mind, I was slightly apprehensive about going to see Giles Croft’s stage adaptation of The Kite Runner however I had heard nothing but good reviews so decided to give it a go.

Giles Croft’s production successfully captures the heart of the story with it’s simple set and moving storytelling. Amir – played by Ben Turner – presents as an adult throughout and speaks directly to the audience, narrating the events of his life leading up to this point. His softly spoken monalogues, intertwined with flashbacks to the past, make for an emotional ride through Amir’s life; from child to adult, Afhganistan to America, coward to hero. For me, the real triumph of this stage production was Amir’s poor, Hazara servant, Hassan, played by Andrei Costin. With his youthful looks and superb acting, Costin captured the kindhearted and innocent character of Hassan perfectly.

That was the thing with Hassan. He was so goddamn pure, you always felt like a phony around him.’

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Ben Turner (Amir) and Andrei Costin (Hassan). Photograph by Robert Workman

As a child, Amir is jealous of his father’s relationship with Hassan and cannot understand why his father, Baba, treats a servant boy with such high regard. Desperate for his father’s respect and admiration, Amir enters a local kite-fighting tournament and successfuly cuts the strings of all his opponents to be the last kite flying. Running this kite for Amir, Hassan would do “a thousand times over” but it is on this fateful last sprint that the Hazara (literally) runs in to trouble. Refusing to hand the kite over to bullies, Hassan is brutally raped by the local thug Assef (Nicholas Karimi) as Amir cowardly hides in the shadows.

‘I opened my mouth, almost said something. Almost. The rest of my life might have turned out differently if I had. But I didn’t. I just watched. Paralyzed.’

Consumed by guilt, Amir struggles to cope with the consequences of his actions and constructs a lie to rid Hassan, and the attached remorse, from his life altogether. After a failed attempt to clear his conscience, Amir is offered “a way to be good again”and, from this point onwards, the twists and turns unfold into what is ultimately one of the greatest stories of all time.

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Photograph by Robert Workman

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Spoiler-free Review

I, like many other Potter fans, had pre-ordered my copy of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ ready to read on the day of release. This, in itself, brought back many happy memories of queueing to get my hands on each new release of the Potter series throught my childhood and teen years. I was ten years old when the first Harry Potter book was published and have remained a true fan ever since. What constitues a true fan? Reading every book from cover to cover on the day of release resulting in no, or little, sleep: check. Regular Harry Potter film marathons: check. Owning a wand: check. Having an Albus Dumbledore quote stencilled on your hallway wall: check. Harry Potter will always be home and for that J.K. Rowling I thank you.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a two-part West End stage play written by Jack Thorne…

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Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon

“A Happy Life with a Mixed-up Mind”

I had seen this book floating around Instagram for a while and had made a mental note to add it to my growing non-fiction pile when I found it, smiling at me, on the ‘New In’ shelf at my local libray. In recent months, a few celebrities, working as ambassadors for mental health charities, have recommended this personal memoir by Bryony Gordon (a hugely successful columnist for the Telegraph newspaper) and rightly so! Bryony’s writing style is open, honest, chatty, relatable and, at times, abolsutely hillarious.

Suffering from an array of health conditions, including OCD, depression, alopecia, bullemia and drug dependency, Bryony talks candidly about her illnesses and how she has managed to “laugh and live well with a mixed-up mind.” Like many others, Bryony has spent most of her life hiding her illnesses in fear of stigmatisation; living, what looked on the outside to others, a fairly priviliged and successful life. In writing this book, Bryony Gordon has proven that mental health should be spoken out. Her use of dark humour throughout expels all taboos and is an incredibly brave, and successful, means to getting more people talking about mental illness.

Rating: 4.5/5

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Visiting Luxembourg at Christmas 

Ahh city breaks, how I love you! I’m not a massive fan of summer beach holidays and would choose a winter city break over the former anyday. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a cocktail in the sunshine, however everyone who knows me well would agree that I am near-on completely allergic to summer: pale skin that burns, freckles covering every square inch of my face, hayfever, mosquito bites… the list is endless!  City breaks, however, require no beach body preparation. You don’t have to lie on sand (that gets stuck in every orifice) soaking up harmful UV rays to appear ‘more attractive’ in colour. So when my friend invited me to Luxembourg this December, I jumped at the chance to add another European city to my list.

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