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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
Avg Score

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Ambitious

See it if smart political commentary and well-acted character are key to a creative reinterpretation of Brecht's warning

Don't see it if minimalism and honesty about abuses of power are hard to swallow

Great acting, Great staging, Intense, Resonant, Relevant

See it if you love Raul Esparza and John Doyle, you're up for a show that throws our current political climate in your face

Don't see it if on-the-nose or not at all subtle parallels bother you or you don't want a show that makes you concentrate/work for it

Profound, Intense, Intelligent, Absorbing, Clever

See it if You like Raul Esparza and/or intense dramatic shows performed in an intimate setting.

Don't see it if Are looking for uplifting, escapist theater.

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

See it if you know or wish to explore Brecht (highly political, very intentional theatre). Brilliantly staged and acted. Sadly timely. Has humor.

Don't see it if you just want to pop in and enjoy something. You aren't up for an in-your-face experience. You don't want to think about Hitler.

Absorbing, Great acting, Ambitious, Intense, Intelligent

See it if a strong, invigorating production of Brecht's allegory with a superb cast headed by Esparza - working with a terrific translation.

Don't see it if if you are not a Brecht fan or find political allegories staged in a stark manner not your cuppa tea

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

Intense, Confusing, Absorbing

See it if Raul Esparza is great, as is the whole cast. Wonderful acting.

Don't see it if The plot is complex and at times I was lost.

Absorbing, Heavy-handed, Quirky

See it if You like Brecht, like Raúl Esparza, or basically want to be told Trump is bad (duh)

Don't see it if You prefer your plays meaty or your social commentary subtle

Also Impactful and mostly engaging, but easily forgettable.... Read more Read less

Enchanting, Exquisite, Dizzying, Great acting

See it if you love Brecht, John Doyle, or that fine ass Raul Esparza.

Don't see it if you have difficulty with Brecht or John Doyle just doesn't do it for you anymore.

Also This was my first time seeing Brecht and while it took my brain some t... Read more Read less

Great acting, Edgy, Ambitious, Entertaining, Clever

See it if you want to see great acting, a very divergent use of the theater's stage and props. See it you're interested in morally corrupt leadership.

Don't see it if you don't want to listen to gangster dialect throughout most of the play. Don't see if you're not interested in morally corrupt leadership.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy great acting and thought provoking shows

Don't see it if You enjoy fluff. Comedy or musicales

Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Intense

See it if It's a powerful show that is not at all subtle and makes you reflect on our times. Raul Esparza is excellent, as is the ensemble.

Don't see it if You'd prefer something lighthearted without references to a dark time in history.

Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Resonant

See it if You want to think and be haunted

Don't see it if If you want warm fuzzies

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

Great acting, Relevant

See it if A strong central performance and a compelling ensemble telling a relevant story make this worthwhile.

Don't see it if But a muddled, somewhat underwhelming production makes the story hard to follow when it isn't bluntly signposted. Still, I was glad I went.

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.

Great acting, Disappointing, Excruciating, Overrated

See it if You like good actors even if accents a bit annoying

Don't see it if You're looking for great writing or story. For that see To Kill A Mockingbird, Network or Eve's Song at The Public

Edgy, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant

See it if You are interested in great performances in a small intimate theater.

Don't see it if You are offended by correlation to current political climate

Absorbing, Clever, Edgy, Great acting, Intense

See it if you want to experience masterful theatre with fantastic acting, especially in a smaller venue where you can really feel connected.

Don't see it if you don't like being up-close-and-personal with a show (the actors are very close and maintain a lot of eye contact).

Also It's a bit rough to get through, as it hits you really hard, but this ... Read more Read less

Relevant, Riveting, Thought-provoking

See it if you like thought provoking theater w/themes esp.relevant in today's world.Raul E.can do/play ANYTHING!

Don't see it if you prefer to be entertained, but not jolted with political "stuff", and Brecht is too heavy for you

Also It takes a little while to get into this play, but it will eventually ... Read more Read less

Great acting, Relevant, Ambitious, Masterful, Intense

See it if you like Brecht or want to watch an intense and powerful performance by Esparza. The theater is intimate and the whole cast dynamic.

Don't see it if you don't like politically charged plays or want to watch escapist theater. Also requires concentration to fully engage in the performance.

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

See it if you enjoy fast paced Brecht and are interested in a thought-provoking evening of theater.

Don't see it if you are looking for lighter entertainment, or are disinterested in political theater.

Also John Doyle brings his typical smart, minimalistic directing to this pl... Read more Read less

Intense, Hilarious, Great acting, Clever, Resonant

See it if You are European. You're familiar with Brecht. You appreciate satire

Don't see it if You don't want to be challenged directly. You don't want to see the staging of a translated/adapted text

Great acting, Clever, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You like good theater. Acting is top notch, especially Raul Esparza in the lead role.

Don't see it if You get bored with wordy dramas.

During previews
Relevant, Chilling, Intense, Bare-bones, Strong acting

See it if you like challenging, insightful theater. Parable of Hitler's rise is highly relevant. Esparza impressive in lead; strong diverse ensemble.

Don't see it if you need sets, costumes. Seems a bit amateurish, but acting/script redeem.Very slow start, but takes off. Light bulbs glare (hurt my eyes).

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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