Event: The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui
Location: Duchess Theatre, WC2
1930s Chicago, the corrupt city, organised crime and the Great Depression. A perfect opportunity for a small-time gangster to make it big. Really big. Bertolt Brecht’s Arturo Ui is an allegory of Hitler’s rise to power, as a petty thug turns into a maniacal tyrant, due to circumstances of economic failure, intimidation and lack of any opposition.
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui stars Henry Goodman in the lead role in Jonathan Church’s production, which has transferred to the West End from Chichester Festival Theatre (as have a number of other West End plays).
Written in 1941, Brecht’s witty satire shows Ui’s character evolving over the course of the play, with him transformed when he takes lessons from a washed up Shakespearian actor. Goodman plays Ui with many recognisable mannerisms of the German Fuhrer in his performance, from goose stepping to a raised arm and as Ui takes over not just the cauliflower trade in Chicago but neighbouring Cicero (think Austria).
The production had great reviews in Chichester, particularly Goodman, (known previously for his Shylock in Trevor Nunn’s Merchant of Venice at the National Theatre and Richard III at the Royal Shakespeare Company; but also from Keith Baxter, William Gaunt, Michael Feast and Joe McGann.
Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui at the Duchess Theatre on Catherine Street in Covent Garden runs from 18 Sept to 7 Dec 2013 with matinee performances on Thur and Sat.