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Bee Master

by on 8 August 2022

Buzz on the Fringe

Bee Master

by Chris Harris and Chris Denys

Blue Fire Theatre Company at Space Two, theSpace on the Mile, Edinburgh until 13th August, then on tour.

Review by Millie Stephens

When the Bard wrote “To bee, or not to bee …”, he had not read Harris and Denys’ witty and educational script, Bee Master.  Otherwise, Brother Barnabus’ knowledge of the humble bumble bee could have been a source for the unwritten Merry Hives of Windsor … … However, we should be sticking to Blue Fire Theatre Company’s sweet story of bees and beekeeper, which is creating a growing buzz at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.  

Bee Master consists of a monologue performed by Steve Taylor, who plays the role of the monastic beekeeper, Brother Barnabus. We in the audience are informed about the bees in his hive, as well as being given an insightful education into the life cycle of the female and male bees. This informative soliloquy is filled with comedic one liners, making it very engaging for the audience.

Brother Barnabus tells a story of self-discovery, learnt in his beekeeper role ensconced in the peaceful surroundings of Clumpton Abbey.  Along the way, he uncovers a honeycomb of thoughts about his own existence.   These can only be thoughts, as the Abbey houses a silent order of monks.

There are moments when Barnabus makes use of biblical references, as well as other light-hearted references, in order to convey the vital role that bees play in our ecosystem.

When Brother Barnabus is suddenly called to meet his maker, he is instead reincarnated as a bee.  From this vantage point we get to learn the story from the other side of the hive.  Steve Taylor’s versatile acting enables him to be equally convincing as an aged venerable monk or as a new and nimble baby bumble bee.

I would recommend Bee Master for all ages as the performance offers a mix of comedy, education and inspiration.  Make it quick though, before audiences begin to swarm to the show, like … well, like bees around a honey-pot.

Millie Stephens, August 2022

Millie Stephens is one of our younger reviewers. She is sixteen years old. 

Millie trained with the Rose Theatre, Kingston.

Photography courtesy of Blue Fire

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