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Powerful and thought provoking Beekeeper of Aleppo

Alfred Clay and Roxy Faridany.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, until 27 May.

Review by Margaret Mather.

A formidable look at the devastating consequences of war. This was a powerful, thought-provoking play expertly performed by everyone involved.

It starts with a family sitting in the sun, watching bees and collecting honey surrounded by family and friends content with their simple lives. Then the unthinkable happens, bombs rain down upon their town, killing men, women and children.

Nuri (Alfred Clay) and his wife Afra (Roxy Faridany) decide to flee. Afra is blinded by trauma. The reason for her temporary blindness is heartbreakingly revealed at the end of the play (no spoilers here). They manage to get to Greece and end up in Athens. With no shelter available, they sleep in a park and are exploited by unscrupulous men who use and abuse them.

Roxy Faridany, Alfred Clay and Joseph Long.

Nuri manages to keep in touch with his uncle, Mustafa (Joseph Long), who has reached England and is living in Yorkshire. He urges Nuri to find a way to join him. Having spent most of his savings fleeing from Syria, Nuri must take a job delivering drugs until he has enough money for their fare. They manage to pay for a space on a flimsy boat and brave the turbulent seas before landing in England. Nuri’s mental health is not good, and he conjures up a young boy (Elham Mahyoub) who, in his mind, he is helping. Their journey has not been easy, but in the end they find Mustafa, and Afra’s sight begins to return.

Alfred Clay

There is sorrow and humour in this play with an impressive visual set that transports you from Aleppo to the shores of England, but what comes across loud and clear is the determination of people to survive no matter how the odds are stacked against them.

Beautifully performed by talented actors.

The play is based on the bestselling novel by Christy Lefteri, winner of the Aspen Words Award and runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.

You can book tickets at: or call 024 76 553055.

1 Comment

May 25, 2023

This was an amazing, emotive performance, enhanced by a powerful stage set. The audience was truly spellbound and it does make you realise just what many asylum seekers having given up in terms of homeland, loved ones, way of life and also shows the negative effects of trauma encountered on their difficult journey that remain with them forever.

Having enjoyed the book, I was a little bit hesitant about seeing it played out on stage, but I needn't have been. I was with friends who hadn't read it, and equally enjoyed it.

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