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The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Classic Stage Company)

From 121 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Relevant, Intense, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

About the show

Bertolt Brecht’s skewering of Adolf Hitler and totalitarianism is given a new production directed by John Doyle ("The Color Purple") for Classic Stage Company. More…

In 1930s Chicago, mobster Arturo Ui will stop at nothing to control the cauliflower trade. Terror and bloodshed follow. Can anyone stop him?  Written in 1941, the play was one of the Berliner Ensemble’s greatest box office successes.

Member Reviews (121)


Great acting, Relevant, Intense, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

Confusing, Ambitious, Quirky, Relevant

See it if You are a fan of Brecht or Esparza. A very complex fast paced wordgame. See it if you like wordplay and accents.

Don't see it if If you are looking for an easy to follow piece. It is all over the place.

Overrated, Disappointing, Excruciating, Slow, Confusing

See it if you like Bertolt Brecht plays no matter how poorly they are done.

Don't see it if you want to see a well directed play. Director John Doyle did needlessly bizarre & confusing things that made the play difficult to follow.

Confusing, Disappointing, Excruciating, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to see the similarities between 1930s Nazi Germany and the gangster cities of Chicago and Cicero.

Don't see it if you are disappointed by a play with too much symbolism, loudness and confusing dialogue.

Disappointing, Intense, Slow, Relevant, Confusing

See it if you like the writing of Bertolt Brecht and you want to see a play that parallels the rise of Hitler with Chicago corruption.

Don't see it if you want a play with a well defined plot, less symbolism and more action.

Confusing, Quirky, Slow, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if you love Bertolt Brecht and you just don't get to see much by him in NYC.

Don't see it if you are not interested in a stilted translation and performances. It was a little hard to endure.

Uninspired., Difficult to follow and understand - all along the way., Unattractive stage/ set style.

See it if Generally well acted, and a surprising characterization by an offbeat star role in Raul Esparza.

Don't see it if Too often it's just a flight of words that you lose the specific knowledge of what's going on. Thematically yes, specifically, no. Pass.

Disappointing, Cliched, Ambitious, Dated, Indulgent

See it if You have an interest in Bertholt Brecht

Don't see it if you dislike stylized, self-indulgent theatre

Also This show, billed as "especially relevant to our troubled times" is an... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Great acting, Indulgent

See it if If you like Brecht and know the play well.

Don't see it if You like plays with a clear narrative

Disappointing, Confusing, Thought-provoking, Overrated, Profound

See it if you are a fan of Bertolt Brecht or Raul Esparza and enjoy intimate theater were actors play multiple characters with minimal costume changes

Don't see it if you want a clear story that you can follow, or a performance that tries to parallel the current political environment.

During previews
Dated style, Great acting, Slow, Relevant, Confusing

See it if Important, thought-provoking themes. Great acting. Interesting and relevant. The announcers' notes on the actual facts throughout helped

Don't see it if Confusing. Actors playing too many parts without a costume change to denote it. Could be condensed and some parts cut.

Also The storytelling style felt a bit dated. ... Read more Read less

During previews
Great acting, Relevant, Resonant, Slow, Overly long

See it if Great acting from Esparza & cast. Important show that is still very relevant today.

Don't see it if Would have been better as 90min. By the time the story picks up in act2 I began to lose interest. A shame b/c there is some great material.

Also If you aren't familiar with the play I would recommend reading the syn... Read more Read less

During previews
Resonant, Thought-provoking, Overrated, Heavy-handed, Ugly

See it if you are an avid Brechtian or are curious to see Esparza in the title role

Don't see it if you don't like Brecht or plays that make lazy connections to current events.

During previews
Disappointing, Slow, Intense

See it if See it if You like Raul Esparza who gives a powerful performance. Good to see if you want to see a Brecht play.

Don't see it if Don't see it if You want scenery (John Doyle’s typical sparse set). Uneven acting. Feels amateurish. Strange staging, very harsh lighting.

Also Also Characters seem dressed in their own old clothes. An historically... Read more Read less

During previews
Funny, Disappointing, Great acting, Indulgent, Heavy-handed

See it if You are a big Raúl Esparza fan; if you love Brecht no matter what; if you like allegories

Don't see it if If you like allegories w/ subtlety; if you hate John Doyle's work; if you don't want to see Nazi symbols & gestures performed repeatedly

During previews
Ambitious, Great acting, Excruciating, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if Everyone should, as the topic (evolution of a thug to a totalitarian leader) is so pertinent however hard to watch. Shakespeare buffs too.

Don't see it if You want light entertainment. Can't handle some heaviness that build to a strong ending. Shakespearean-influenced prose is not for you.

Also I found this play hard to watch, slow & squirmy for most of it - but i... Read more Read less

During previews
Uneven, Long, Another trump parallel story, Raul esparza strong, Rough transitions

See it if you enjoy Raul Esparza. He is in your face and creating a strong perfomance

Don't see it if you need a faster story - transitions. Don't want to sit through yet another politically mined show.

Also Great to hear Brecht. Acting is a mixed bag with Esparza doing a nice ... Read more Read less

During previews
Uneven, Some great acting, Confusing, Ineffective direction and design, Disappointing

See it if you enjoy political plays or want to see an amazing performance by Raul Esparza

Don't see it if you're looking for a light entertainment or if you're bothered by theatre that parallels the current political climate

During previews
Confusing, Dizzying, Disappointing, Intense, Slow

See it if you like brecht-style writing, you enjoy political plays, you like intimate sets and staging

Don't see it if you want a cohesive and clear story that you can follow, you like characters you can connect to

During previews
Ambitious, Great acting, Relevant, Slow

See it if you like Brecht and/or Raúl Esparza, you appreciate a takedown of fascism that doesn't shy away from the nefarious complicity of capitalism

Don't see it if honestly kinda boring but intelligent and ultimately probably worth your time if you can swing for the tickets.

During previews
Banal, Slow

See it if you are desperate to see this Brecht play, regardless of the quality. poorly acted, TERRIBLY directed. Lifeless. Total lack of danger.

Don't see it if you are hoping for a quality evening of theater. Classic Stage, despite their reputation, disappoints again.

November 14th, 2018
“Doyle’s full of enlivening moments of actorly glee. The eight ensemble members here are delightfully resourceful as they become an entire population of corrupt thugs and government officials...Yet all the cast’s resourcefulness isn’t enough to keep confusion and tedium at bay...E...
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November 14th, 2018
“Doyle’s production is certainly streamlined, and it boasts a wonderful Ui—Esparza plays the part just at the edge of clowning—but his directorial choices also make this character-crammed epic harder to understand...This is the kind of ride that’s hard to get back on once you’ve fallen off...Happ...
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November 14th, 2018
"A sly, fearsome sideshow, a deceptively humble, hugely exciting piece of work...It’s ‘Richard III’ meets Jimmy Cagney by way of the vaudeville circuit, and in the hands of Doyle and his actors, it’s both rollicking and frightening...Esparza is on fire from word one...And he never skips a beat. D...
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November 19th, 2018
"John Doyle’s sober revival of Bertolt Brecht’s 'The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui' couldn’t be more timely, though whether that timeliness enhances or diminishes its message I can’t quite decide...The production’s stripped-down realism has mixed results. It can pay to highlight Brecht’s stylish e...
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