The Beekeeper of Aleppo

“What are you doing here” asks the interviewer at Nuri’s asylum assessment. We know from the beginning of The Beekeeper of Aleppo that Nuri and his wife Afra make it to the UK. What we learn throughout is just how traumatic their journey from Syria was.

An affecting production that speaks to moment when the refugee crisis has fallen off the headlines

Miranda Cromwell directs Nesrin Alrefaai and Matthew Spangler’s adaptation of Christy Lefteri’s novel. Alrefaai and Spangler do an impressive job of condensing the contenant spanning story. The script is truthful to the book and impressively captures the fractured trauma of Nuri, as the audience piece his story.

The piece moves through time and space, dancing across Ruby Pugh’s expansive and surreal set. The design shifts into whatever it needs to be next; doctor’s surgery, wartorn Aleppo, boarder crossing, open sea and even an expression of Nuri’s own injurred mind.

Lighting by Ben Ormerod and film projection from Ravi Deepres transforms the space with a cinematic flare. Moments of Lefteri’s novel, like Afra’s eyes, Sami’s marble and the bees are super imposed. It is a vivid visual version of Lefteri’s evocative imagery, which, in the novel, traverses between realism and symbolism.

It takes a while to ease into the narrative with fragments coming into slow focus. We get glimpses of the ordinary lives that Nuri and Afra once lived in Aleppo and then the humiliation of the UK asylum system.

Alfred Clay as Nuri is stoic and still, yet we are with him all the way. His messured performance makes the final reveal all the more compelling. Time melts together and Nuri’s PTSD means he is always reliving momements. Roxy Faridany has a challenging job in bringing Afra alive, but her guarded performance is honest and humble.

The ensemble performances are rich and varied, with a cast of nine multiroling the characters whom Nuri and Afra meet on their journey. Elham Mahyoub as the young Mohammed and Sami has a haunting innocence and serves as a reminder of the human cost at the heart of this story.

Cromwell’s is an affecting production that speaks to moment when the refugee crisis has fallen off the headlines. The harrowing tales of people fleeing war persist, yet audience are soldom confronted by them in such a humanising way.

Reviews by Jane Prinsley

Richmond Theatre

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

★★★★
Wilton's Music Hall

Sweeney Todd - the Victorian Melodrama

★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Will Gompertz: Double Art History – The Sequel

★★★
Bedlam Theatre

The Female Role Model Project

★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Jena Friedman: Miscarriage of Justice

★★★★★
Venue150 at EICC

Trainspotting Live

★★★★

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 £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Moving, powerful, compassionate and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit. Told with deceptive simplicity, it is the kind of book that reminds us of the power of storytelling. The Beekeeper of Aleppo is an intimate look at the lives of one couple, Afra, a woman and artist blinded by an explosion, and her beekeeper husband Nuri as the couple escape Syria for, eventually, the UK.

Most Popular See More

Mamma Mia!

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets