Bees, Bombs and Bullets, The Bee Keeper of Aleppo tells it all.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

Theatre Severn

Tuesday 4th April- Saturday 8th April


This play one should say from the start, is not an easy watch but it is an essential one. It is a story that is utterly unimaginable. It explores the devastation of war and suffering and its explosive consequences. This is theatre at it’s very best and fulfilling its most moving potential and telling a real story that we in the West cannot ever imagine happening.

Adapted from the best-selling book by Christy Leftieri, “The Beekeeper of Aleppo,” tells the story of a simple Syrian Couple. Nuri is a Beekeeper and his wife Afra, is an artist. Driven from their peaceful existence in beautiful Aleppo they leave behind a war torn city destroyed by Russian bombs and  rebels bullets. They also leave something much more precious and the sub text of that is that during all this horror, the personal tragedies that spectator’s lump into one, actually are truly a deep and powerful humanitarian event; some find it best to ignore as there isn’t an easy solution. That is what this play is about, humanity and sometimes Man’s lack of it. We follow their journey as they are assailed by authoritarian figures lacking kindness and of course they fall prey to all the other lower forms of pond life that are there to exploit these people in the most wretched condition of life that they are in.

So it’s a serious issue and it is dealt with beautifully and sensitively. The design is a straightforward set, rather dystopian it portrays destruction, So the stage houses two large mounds of earth, they were rubble piles and tangled in this rubble the lives of the sufferer’s plays out. It is a sad piece and strongly illuminates the plight that our human race finds itself in. The piece relies heavily on projection which add a reality that is uncanny. One’s heart was truly in one’s mouth  as the stage turned into a raging sea. For the first time many of the audience were exposed to what these boat people endure before they reached their haven. Of course haven is never guaranteed but these folk have no option than to try and stay optimistic and find the best life for themselves and their families. The rest of humanity falls short in their impossible task of trying to help such a desperate situation. But the play makes that point, however the point is qualified by showing those that are trying to help are so overwhelmed, their time amongst individuals needing help is just too short. This whole situation has caught the world napping and Beekeeper shows us just that. It can be uncomfortable to explore one’s underbelly but that what this play sets out to achieve and does it tearfully well.

One can’t quite remember when one was moved so by such a performance. Everything was just so right. The adhesion to the fourth wall convention, the character emergence was astounding and the technical language which allowed the projection images was sublime.

There was some lovely little relationships between characters too and the emotion was raw. The players are committed not only to their parts, but to the issues arising from such a powerful piece of drama.

Theatre is a wonderful thing; it is a safe environment where we can explore dangerous issues. Withholding disbelief and entering in to the story fully leaves one moved beyond compare. This show does that. It’s a wonderful, sensitive, sometimes angry and sometimes sad approach to all that is wrong with us.

So now the show is over the audience leave, the stage again becomes an empty box until next time. But on that stage today one saw something that made the audience think, not just in the theatre but in life as well. That is what theatre can do and this play makes it do that to an incredible high level. One finds oneself profoundly moved by this piece and it deserves to run and run, a great cast, great crew, great design and a great show. Theatre can appear simple but keep in mind simple theatre can appear brilliant. Throwing off the need for bangs whistles and cymbals, “The Beekeeper of Aleppo,” keeps their path pure so they can tell the hardest story in the easiest way. Well done cast.

This is a Five Star Review.

Sofia Lewis


Sofia Lewis Sofia Lewis
For many years Sofia wrote here under her male name Owen J. Lewis. She is now mostly writing under her own name of Sofia Lewis. Sofia, who worked on independent radio for over ten years, lives in Shrewsbury and writes plays. She has over 15 titles published and her plays are performed all over the world. She is especially popular in America. Her poetry is also often noted and she writes reams of it most weeks. Since graduating in theatre in 1997 Sofia has been an Actor, Filmmaker, and a Secondary School Teacher. Reviewing theatre is something she thoroughly enjoys and she loves to see great theatre. As a musician Sofia is known throughout the UK she is a folk singer, and is often seen or heard around her native county singing and having fun. Sofia has contributed to for over a decade and enjoys sharing her views on theatre. Sofia has one daughter and grew up in Church Stretton.

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