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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

During previews
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.

During previews
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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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