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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
78
Avg Score

During previews
80
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Relevant, Great acting

See it if You want to see an insightful and timely piece that features a powerhouse performance from Esparza and some great ensemble performances.

Don't see it if You honestly, and you're allowed to feel this way, feel over saturated with art dealing the rise of fascism. You do you.

Also "I told a number of countries over the last few days, I said listen, y... Read more Read less

During previews
76
Absorbing, Clever, Relevant, Profound, Intense

See it if You want to see a parody of German history. You want to see how people can be manipulated and how fear can motivate people. Relevant to now

Don't see it if You do not like political satire. You do not like modern spoofs of history.

During previews
82
Relevant, Thought-provoking, Doylesque, Ambitious, Brechtian

See it if You want to see a play written about Hitler that draws parallels (not subtly) to our current political climate.

Don't see it if You're looking for an escape from said political climate. Or if you're not a fan of Brecht or Doyle and his minimalist style.

During previews
73
Confusing, Disappointing, Quirky, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you are a Raul Esparza fan and minimalist staging & costumes appeal to you

Don't see it if you haven't read the book as it is super confusing and frankly, not very enjoyable until the last ten or so minutes

During previews
71
Dizzying, Epic, Edgy

See it if You like Brecht...Great script but the staging sometimes did not work for me...Some great acting from Raul Esparza and George Abud.

Don't see it if You want a straight forward play...lot's of symbolism and allegories going on...You have to listen carefully and read between the lines...

During previews
80
Political satire from the past still feels pertinent today...

See it if Esparza and entire cast thrill in Brecht’s political satire. CSC continues to challenge their audience.

Don't see it if Although the subject didn’t appeal to me, the delivery and Doyle’s direction definitely kept me engaged.

Also Written in the 40s and still relevant today... Read more Read less

During previews
70
Stripped down production of political parable makes for some confusion, Good actors but not on the same page stylistically, Timely production

See it if you're willing to overlook some unclear staging of gangland machinations to hear Brecht's savage indictment of political acquiescence

Don't see it if you're unwilling have your patience taxed by a play that is alternately tedious and entertaining--due as much to script as to production

Also Brecht's parable of Hitler's rise to power told as a 30s Chicagoland g... Read more Read less

During previews
85
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if For interesting intense thought provoking relevant play. For Raul Esparza's intense over the top acting supported by equally strong cast.

Don't see it if Don't like CST sparse staging & intimate theater. Can't follow dense plays- prefer light musical entertainment, elaborate sets & costumes

During previews
84
Relevant, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Clever, Very well acted and staged

See it if you want theatre that is relevant to maintaining a democracy. Writing includes many references to classic works.

Don't see it if you prefer light-fare or the Rockettes.

During previews
70
Confusing, Great acting, Relevant

See it if You want to see a play paralleling Hitler's rise to power in a comedic and truly Brechtian fashion and it's relevance today.

Don't see it if you aren't a fan of Brecht and his style of writing.

During previews
72
Slow, Relevant, Intelligent, Great acting, Disappointing

See it if you love Brecht, John Doyle's signature style, relevant political work, or Raul Esparza.

Don't see it if you have difficulty with Brechtian theatre, you want escapist entertainment, or Doyle drags you down.

Also I want to love this play, as well as Brecht in general, more than I ac... Read more Read less

During previews
75
Funny, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intelligent, Ambitious

See it if You're interested in understanding how bad people rise to power. You're ready to cringe and laugh in equal measure.

Don't see it if You don't like minimalist productions.

During previews
75
Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if you enjoy political allegories and Brecht's epic style of theater.

Don't see it if you want a simple, easy to follow narrative or if you want any great visuals.

During previews
85
Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Funny, Masterful

See it if There's no difference btwn a thug & an unprincipled politician when creating a need for unwanted protection. Raul enlivens the monster-bully

Don't see it if Didactic theater of ideas has U chasing an early exit. My row left. It's a well-observed analysis & satire of tyranny that remains prescient

During previews
65
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
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
65
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
69
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
69
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
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.


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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