Reviewed by Kate Lewis
Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
This compelling and touching adaptation of Christy Lefteri’s bestseller draws the audience in to the dire reality of the plight of the masses of people fleeing their homes around the world. The play shifts between past and present as the central protagonist, Nuri is forced to relive his traumatic journey as a refugee for the officials who are interviewing him. The anguish of the articulation of this journey is palpable thanks to the accomplished performance of Alfred Clay who does not allow us to look away.
Emotionally, a difficult watch as we confront the notion that the family whose plight we follow are familiar and human and universal in so many ways. The relationship between Alfred Clay’s ‘Nuri’ and Roxy Faridany’s ‘Afra’ is delicately balanced with humor and intimacy that really does crystallise the deeply human and flawed characters at the heart of this narrative. The unexpected turns in the plot are both tense and utterly devastating.
The staging and costumes are pared back and undistracting which allows the clever use of light and sound to synchronise beautifully with the script to create tension, sadness and some degree of hope. While it deals with some difficult experiences, it does so without being gratuitously graphic which would make this an excellent and hard-hitting watch for teenagers and young adults.
The undoubted tragedy of this play is drawn out never more artfully than by the performance of Joseph Long as Mustafa who walks the hair-thin line between glimmering humour and dreadful sorrow which for me was a true highlight of the production. A story well worth the telling and a story well told. This is bound to capture audiences around the country and force them to consider carefully its unflinching political message as well as its charming portrait of what it is to be human.
The Beekeeper of Aleppo is on at The Lowry until Saturday 22nd April tickets available here.