This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour saw The Beekeeper of Aleppo at the invite of Birmingham Rep.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/brumhour
This production contains some strong language, and detail of sexual assault.
Review: The Beekeeper of Aleppo at Birmingham Rep
Directed by Miranda Cromwell, adapted by Nesrin Alrefaai and Matthew Spangler from the book by Christy Lefteri
Arriving in the UK to apply for asylum, Nuri (Alfred Clay) starts to recount his journey from Aleppo with his wife Afra (played by Daphne Kouma at this performance).
Told in a series of time jumps and flashbacks this story uses a projected landscape and a vivid soundscape to capture the oceans and lands Nrui and his wife encounter on their way to England. The set itself is made of a large backdrop, and one wall angled in three parts, with windows and a couple of doors to enter. Sat before this are large rocks with a chair built and trapdoor built into one side and a bed built into the other. This flexible space is used to bring the landscapes to life.
The music washes over the action sometimes engulfing it sometimes complimenting it and sometimes underlining it. The mental health of our narrator is being engulfed too and this is skilfully presented to the audience.
There’s humour to be found in the seriousness of the situations too, mostly in letters read to the audience by Joseph Long as Mustafa, whilst Nadia Williams skilfully delivers a range of characters for us to relate to in different ways and Elham Mahyoub shows us hope of young people as bouncy and hyperactive Sami.
I’ve seen two other productions; The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, at Birmingham Rep and this put me back into the zone of those. International stories are told to a British audience without shying away from our roles within them.
As two one-hour parts with a twenty minute interval, the production is clipped at the right moment to give the audience chance to breathe and reflect themselves, after all the second half is even more challenging.
There are limited tickets available for The Beekeeper of Aleppo which is at Birmingham Rep until 17th June. Book tickets here: birmingham-rep.co.uk/whats-on/the-beekeeper-of-aleppo