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Nottingham Playhouse: ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo’ Review

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

A few weeks ago, I had the joy of visiting the Nottingham Playhouse for the first time to watch their production of ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo’. This was an adaptation of the best-selling novel of the same name written by Christy Lefteri and tells the story of Nuri, a beekeeper from Aleppo who is forced on a treacherous journey across Europe as a refugee.

I have studied in Nottingham for three years and I had never had a chance to visit the Playhouse Theatre, so when I saw that this novel had been adapted for the stage, I thought it would be a fantastic chance to experience the theatre for the first time. I was blown away by how beautiful it is, as it is quite modern while still feeling intimate inside the auditorium. I was also impressed by the affordable pricing with countless great seats under £20 which is great value for such a high-quality production, with tickets also coming with a discount for students!

The play itself follows Nuri and his wife, Afra, who lived a beautiful and rich life in Syria, in the city of Aleppo. However, this is all forced to a sudden close when the Syrian Civil War hits the city, and they are forced to witness horrific and terrible things – leading to their being no choice but to leave Aleppo to get to the UK to be with their other family members. The journey they undertake is filled with fear, tragedy, and danger – and despite finally arriving at the UK, it proves that living through so many traumatic experiences cannot truly be forgotten.

The production was directed by Miranda Cromwell, and it is easy to say that it was a fantastic piece of drama that will stick with me for a long time. It featured fantastic staging and sound design which complimented every part of the production. The play truly showcases how difficult and dangerous such a journey is, and how high the stakes are every single day when you constantly have to take risks and make decisions that could potentially lead to something terrible. It makes it clear that no person would ever choose to take this journey if they did not absolutely need to do it for their safety. The production showcases some absolutely beautiful relationships between a married couple, and two cousins which are so touching. There are so many moments when I was close to tears as the audience discovers the terrors these people had to go through in order to be safe, and the way that characters support each other through this trauma.

It was also a lovely and poignant gesture at the end of the play for the cast to give a short speech about the tragic earthquakes that has affected Turkey and Syria, in which they had organised an easy way for the audience members to donate to the crisis fund. The play highlighted that the characters always loved Syria and shone a light on what a magnificent city Aleppo was before it had been taken over by war.

I found this production to be touching, powerful and emotional – it really allowed me to gain even a glimpse of how a person might feel going through such a tough and difficult experience of being forced out of their home. In times where the UK government have recently announced their new bill which prevents refugees from seeking asylum after finding their way to the UK – it really emphasises that our country instead needs to show love and support for those who have journeyed here as they deserve to live and be safe and feel welcome.

Orla Tanner

Nottingham '23

Hi, I'm Orla! I'm a third year student studying English and American Studies. I am super interested in social justice, feminism and absolutely love films, especially ones made by female directors.