Requiem for Aleppo
  • By Lynn Rusk
  • |
  • 19th Aug 2017
  • |
  • ★★★★★

There are a few moments in your life when it dawns on you that you are experiencing something very unique and special and being an audience member for Requiem for Aleppo was one of those once in a lifetime experiences for me. This was a one off charity event hosted by the Pleasance in the 1,000 seater Edinburgh International Conference Centre. There was a wonderful atmosphere of solidarity between artists and regular punters attending this performance as we were all here to support something bigger than ourselves and bigger than this cultural battlefield that the Edinburgh Festival can sometimes be.

This was one of the most powerful and emotional shows I have ever had the privilege of seeing.

The show is introduced by Anthony Alderson the Director of the Pleasance and David Cazalet the composer of this requiem. Alderson introduces the show by stating that the Edinburgh Festival was born 70 years ago during the post-World War II era and what more appropriate way is there to commemorate this anniversary than raising awareness and showing our support towards the biggest humanitarian crisis of our time on an international platform.

This powerful and moving piece is performed by 12 internationally acclaimed dancers and uses spectacular multimedia, music and spoken testimonies to deliver its message. The music reflects Aleppo’s diversity and includes Arabic, Christian, Berber and Jewish influences. The familiar themes from Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem are featured throughout the show including a haunting rendition of Libera Me. The dancers embody the struggle of the refugees through running. Throughout the performance each of the twelve dancers take turns to run on the spot while the others perform movement pieces that illustrate life in Aleppo before and during the war. Some scenes show the suffering the Syrian people have experienced while others reflect on happier times. The performers are dressed in grey and brown tunics reminiscent of a prison camp to illustrate oppression under Assad. They change into more colourful clothing when they are remembering happier times to demonstrate the freedom that they once enjoyed.

On the giant screen behind the performers shocking footage of the destruction to the city of Aleppo is displayed. Voice overs of testimonies from different unnamed individuals are played. One of the voices says ‘To be a refugee is living day by day’. The dancers become wearier as the performance goes on.

This was one of the most powerful and emotional shows I have ever had the privilege of seeing. Some critics may say that this piece only scratches the surface of this catastrophic issue but the emotion and mood in the venue after this performance spoke in volumes on the effect it had on the audience. The proceeds of the piece will go to Syria Relief to invest in education in Syria. 

Reviews by Lynn Rusk

Assembly Roxy

Burnt Out

★★★
The Studio

The End of Eddy

★★★★
King's Theatre

Cold Blood

★★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Nina Conti: In Therapy

★★★★★
Assembly George Square Studios

The Stevenson Experience: Identical as Anything

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

A new production bringing together 12 dancers from across the world. The original music is a combination of Requiem Mass lyrics set to choral music, Arabic poetry and the voices of people from Aleppo telling their real-life stories.

Most Popular See More

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets