DramaFeaturedNorth WestReview

The Beekeeper of Aleppo, The Liverpool Playhouse Liverpool

Reviewer: Alicia Shanahan

Writer: Christy Lefteri

Adaptors: Nesrin Alrefaal and Matthew Spangler

Director: Miranda Cromwell

As you walk into The Liverpool Playhouse Theatre, you are immediately transported to war-torn Syria where you will meet Nuri and Afra. Greeted with a shack-like set with mounds of dirt, sand and rubble, you are placed in the authentic reality of many displaced people around the world. Nuri and Afra present their lives before, during and after experiencing the outbreak of the Syrian war.

Adapted from the best-selling book, The Beekeeper of Aleppo takes you on a journey of heartache, hope, and frustration, but in the best way possible. The non-linear timeline of the narrative distorts the audience as if you were experiencing the protagonists’ trauma with them. With the use of lighting and projections you are thrusted into the many scenarios our protagonists face such as bombings, dodging waves in a rubber raft and the stifled atmosphere of a Home Office appointment.

The use of multiple techniques to show the passage of time is unique and thoughtful. With scenes speeding up and slowing down, it adds another layer of distortion that emphasises the chaos that is physically and mentally happening with our cast.

Along with the set design representing Aleppo, with phenomenal stage direction, it creates the backdrop for many scenarios within the narrative. What especially stood out to this reviewer is the warmth and homely feel of the lighting and atmosphere provided when representing pre-war Aleppo as it presented Syria in a positive and romantic way that this reviewer had never seen before.

This clever production is truly heart-wrenching throughout, so do bring tissues. Though the production is a tear-jerker, it is also filled to the brim with beautiful moments of pure human emotion and experiences that are especially heartwarming.

Alfred Clay’s Nuri is a whirlwind performance. Clay brings to life an intricate character facing grief and trauma. While following Nuri’s journey through the physical, mental and emotional trials that face him, Clay brings a profound realism and compassion to the role.

The role of Afra, played by Roxy Faridany, shows a woman physically blinded by the effects of the war. Faridany’s sombre yet powerful performance highlights the personal and emotional effects of war on relationships, family, and love.

Joseph Long’s performance of Mustafa is the beacon of positivity and hope throughout the production. Long’s performance of Mustafa is moving and heartwarming, while his roles in the ensemble create comic relief.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a piece of provocative storytelling that is well-needed within the current political climate. There is not an audience member that did not gain a piece of knowledge or empathy by the end of the show. With audience members crying and laughing throughout, one member left the theatre, discussing the “powerful” capabilities of the production and the performances.

The performance is emotionally charged and beautifully staged with stunning visuals. It is an overall message of resilience and hope, chiming in on the importance of community that spreads throughout the human race, not just the community within your physical proximity. The Beekeeper of Aleppo hits you in the heart, while dispelling misconceptions about the crisis at hand. A truly eye-opening must-see production.

Runs until 11 March 2023 and on tour

The Reviews Hub Score

Beautifully Powerful

Show More
Photo of The Reviews Hub - North West

The Reviews Hub - North West

The North West team is under the editorship of John McRoberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

Related Articles

Back to top button
The Reviews Hub