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The Beekeeper of Aleppo artwoek

All About Theatre 3 star review

The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a best selling book by Christy Lefteri and it has been adapted for the stage by Nesrin Alrefaai and Mathew Spangler. This is a very moving story which follows the lives of Nuri (Alfred Clay) and his wife Afra (Roxy Faridany). Nuri worked as a beekeeper with his cousin Mustafa in the Syrian city of Aleppo whilst Afra worked as an artist, this was before war came and swept across their country. Whilst a lot of people including Nuri's cousin Mustafa had chosen to leave the war torn country Nuri & Afra chose to stay, that was until a series of tragedy's happened. There son was killed, Afra became blind and Nuri's beloved bees were burnt, this eventually led to them leaving Aleppo to try and join Mustafa in England. This takes them on a journey through many countries until they eventually make it to England however the reception they receive when they arrive is unwelcoming and that coupled with the fact that Nuri is plagued by the trauma of his past means he struggles to make a new life for himself in England.

the Beekeeper of Aleppo Nuri (Alfred Clay) and his wife Afra (Roxy Faridany)

I really enjoyed this play however it did take me a while to get into it as I struggled with the constant jumping from the present into the past but I eventually got used to it and once I did I was gripped by the emotional story. I did find that the second half seem to flow much better than the first half.

the Beekeeper of Aleppo Nuri (Alfred Clay),  Afra (Roxy Faridany) & Mustafa (Joseph Long)

The set was simple and static and didn't change throughout the play, it depicted a house which looked like it had been taken over by the sand of time as their were what looked like piles of sand around the stage which had engulfed pieces of furniture. The show did use some projections which were used effectively these were projected on to the back wall and also on the mounds of sand. A scene which I thought use the projections really well was the scene that has Nuri and Afra crossing the ocean in a boat and they projected images of the sea and waves on to the back wall and the sand piles.

The Beekeeper Of Aleppo production shot

The entire cast were excellent, Alfred Clay gives a very real and emotional performance as Nuri and Roxy Faridany's portrail of Afra a woman who has been through so much trauma is believable and moving. Joseph Long played both Mustafa Nuri's cousin and the Maroccon Man and was excellent in both roles, as the Moroccan man he was able to bring a bit of light comic relief in what is a very serious and emotion play.

The Beekeeper Of Aleppo Nuri (Alfred Clay) & The Moroccan Man (Joseph Long)Joseph Long

The Beekeeper of Aleppo takes you on an emotional journey that really tugs on the heat strings and it shows how trauma can have a massive impact on both a persons mental and physical wellbeing.

I rated the play 3 stars as I just found the first half didn't flow very well and I found the constant jumping from the present into the past a little hard to follow.

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*Our tickets for this show were kindly gifted in exchange for an honest review


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