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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)

MEMBERS SAY:

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

During previews
82
Absorbing, Confusing, Great acting, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if If you like political theater, satire, are a fan of Brecht, want to be challenged and engaged while attending a play.

Don't see it if If you do not like theater dealing with political themes, Nazi/Hitler historical references.

During previews
83
Intense, Intelligent, Anti-capitalist

See it if Intelligent performance of Brecht at his most "capitalism=fascism" moment. The acting, most of all, succeeds at being Brechtian.

Don't see it if Script is convoluted and talkier than it need be. You won't fall asleep, but you'll likely lose interest in a few moments of the text.

During previews
84
Clever, Entertaining, Ambitious, Dark

See it if you want powerful theater

Don't see it if you are looking for a comedy

During previews
95
Ambitious, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Raul Esparza performance alone is reason enough to see this. I'm not sure I can easily think of a more impressive one that I've seen recentl

Don't see it if The play itself isn't Brecht's strongest, obviously.

Also This is a very solid production with uniformly great cast and minimali... Read more Read less

During previews
85
Relevant, Entertaining, Great acting, Edgy, Thought-provoking

See it if you're a Raúl Esparza fan, you like any of the actors listed, or like minimal set, prop, and costume design (this is John Doyle after all)

Don't see it if you want a less complicated story, you don't like actors playing multiple characters, or don't like history, politics, or Nazi imagery

Also Saw this on Oct 30 and 31st. It is 2 hours with a 10 minute intermissi... Read more Read less

During previews
94
Ambitious, Intelligent, Riveting, Intense, Edgy

See it if If you’ve heard the term Brechtian and didn’t know what it means see this play. Written in 1941 it’s a chilling look at modern politics. Wow

Don't see it if You crave escapism entertainment. If you fear acting that doesn’t do all the work for you. If you want to think about the experience later.

During previews
77
Relevant, Resonant, Ambitious

See it if You like political allegories.

Don't see it if bare sets turn you off.

During previews
88
Great writing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you love Brecht. You want to see great interpretation of the gangster character by a wonderful actor. If you need a reminder to vote...

Don't see it if you can't sit through a play that doesn't have fancy set and that is ultimately not there to entertain you but rather to educate.

Also It's always great to see Brecht and to be reminded of his epic theater... Read more Read less

During previews
97
Intense, Masterful, Must see, Relevant, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy going to a play that somewhat makes you think

Don't see it if You want theatre to stay away from current politics, even in a satirical, indirect way

During previews
92
Great acting, Great writing, Gangster pentameter, Relevant, Riveting

See it if You love language. Bertolt Brecht sets a play about gangsters in Chicago. Great direction by John Doyle and immersive performances by cast.

Don't see it if You prefer contemporary dialogue. The text is reminiscent of Shakespeare. It requires concentration and an ear for the lyrical and ironic

During previews
73
Ambitious, Confusing, Intense, Intelligent, Slow

See it if Nice performances, interesting overall aesthetic. Raul is great as always.

Don't see it if I felt like I was being talked at, rather than acted to. It is a very wordy play that wasn't always clear with its intentions.

During previews
83
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Slow, Quirky

See it if you are a fan of Raul Esparza (if you're not, you should be) and you enjoy Brechtian non-realist productions.

Don't see it if you have no patience for Brechtian techniques of distancing/estrangement or resent revivals that make connections to contemporary events.

During previews
85
Clever, Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great acting

See it if You like Brecht and want to see a successful take on this relevant play.

Don't see it if You're looking for escapism.

During previews
85
Ambitious, Intense, Relevant, Great acting

See it if The #1 reason to see this show is Raul Esparza as Ui. He handles the text as if it were a razor-blade/butterfly. Thrilling!

Don't see it if A slightly heavy handed (Trump inflected), bare-bones rendition of Brecht's satire on Hitler sounds like hard work. But see it for Esparza!

During previews
95
Ambitious, Exquisite, Great acting, Must see, Confusing

See it if You love plays - like, LOVE plays, and want to see one that will challenge you; you appreciate sincerely ambitious revivals of the classics

Don't see it if You don't like dry, talky drama, or have trouble following their plots (my companion for the night, not a theater person, was a little lost)

Also Don't be put off by the very slow start - a fault perhaps more attribu... Read more Read less

During previews
75
Intense, Ambitious, Dizzying

See it if Highly relevant parable for the rise of Hitler that takes a lot of focus to fully understand.

Don't see it if You like to escape while going to theater or can't stand bare sets. I did feel there was something missing and could've had a bigger effect.

During previews
89
Clever, Ambitious, Great acting

See it if you are politically engaged and ready for a lot of fast paced dialogue.

Don't see it if You like your plays linear and straightforward, based in realism.

During previews
85
Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Intense

See it if You're a fan of political theatre or Brecht.

Don't see it if If you want to escape from what's happening out in the world right now for a night of theatre.

During previews
95
Absorbing, Intelligent, Masterful, Must see, Relevant

See it if You want to see Brecht, and specifically this show, done well. You like great storytelling. You like socio political theatre.

Don't see it if Seeing a Nazi story is a trigger.

During previews
70
Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant, Intense

See it if You like Brecht, you like John Doyle simplicity, you like Raul Esparza, you're political

Don't see it if You find it hard to listen closely for 2 hours

During previews
80
Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You like deep plots with political messages

Don't see it if You're easily confused/have trouble following confusing plots

During previews
88
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Intense

See it if You love great acting and thought-provoking themes.

Don't see it if Confusing plot bothers you. You don't want to work to follow the language.

During previews
85
Great acting, Intelligent, Ambitious

See it if You like Brecht. You want to see great acting in an intimate venue.

Don't see it if You don't like Brecht. You require naturalism.

During previews
89
Great acting, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Funny

See it if The acting was terrific. The plot relevant for today. Esparza and cast nail it.

Don't see it if It can be confusing as some actors play multiple characters.

During previews
81
Confusing, Intense, Profound, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy Brecht, politics, and won't be really confused

Don't see it if You don't like intense political plays


November 14th, 2018
“Doyle’s production...is 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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