CHICHESTER FESTIVAL THEATRE,
DUNCAN C WELDON, NICA BURNS
LIZA MCLEAN, CHARLES DIAMOND,
THE RESISTIBLE RISE OF ARTURO UI
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The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui
By Bertolt Brecht.
In a translation by George Tabori revised by Alistair Beaton
Following a 2012 critically acclaimed sell-out run at Chichester Festival Theatre The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui will transfer to the Duchess Theatre in September with Henry Goodman once more in the title role.
Arturo Ui is a funny, sharp and thrilling take on the rise of Hitler shot through with razor-sharp wit.
Chicago in the 1930s, the Great Depression - a time of unemployment, fear and corruption, and the perfect time for a small-fry crime boss and his henchmen to make it big, to seize a greater power, an absolute power.
Arturo Ui and his mob of gangsters run protection rackets for both workers and businesses. Soon Ui's menacing shadow looms large, from the markets, to the docks and across the city itself. You might be with him, you might be against him - it certainly seems you can't stop him
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui was written by Brecht in only three weeks in 1941 whilst in exile in Helsinki, Finland awaiting a visa to enter the US. The play was not produced on the stage until as late as 1958, and not until 1961 in English. In spite of this, Brecht never envisioned a version of the play in Germany, intending it for the American stage all along.
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui play is consciously a highly satirical allegory of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany, whose rise Brecht represented in parallel to that of Ui. All the characters and groups in the play had direct counterparts in real life, with Ui representing Hitler, his henchman Ernesto Roma representing Ernst Röhm, Dogsborough representing Paul von Hindenburg (a pun on the German Hund and Burg), Emanuele Giri representing Hermann Göring, Giuseppe Givola representing Joseph Goebbels, the Cauliflower Trust representing the Prussian Junkers, the fate of the town of Cicero standing for the Anschluss in Austria and so on. In addition, every scene in the play is based on a real event, for example the warehouse fire which represented the fire at the Reichstag, or the Dock Aid Scandal which represented the Osthilfeskandal (East Aid) scandal. The play is similar to the film The Great Dictator (1940), which also featured an absurd parody of Hitler by Charlie Chaplin.
'YOU SIMPLY CAN'T TAKE YOUR EYES OFF GOODMAN ... HE IS HORRIBLY, HYPNOTICALLY WATCHABLE'
The Daily Telegraph Dominic Cavendish
'JONATHAN CHURCH'S BREATHTAKING REVIVAL ... A PERFORMANCE OF MEMORABLE COMIC DEMONISM FROM HENRY GOODMAN'
The Guardian Michael Billington
'BRECHT'S FUHRER IS NO SUPERMAN BUT A SCHMUCK, A LITTLE MAN: THE MESSAGE IS THAT HIS PROGRESS SHOULD HAVE BEEN RESISTIBLE, EVEN WITH THE DEPRESSION ECONOMICS'
Times Libby Purves
'PARTLY COMIC, IT'S SET IN CHICAGO ... THE PLAY HAS ECHOES OF SHAKESPEARE'S JULIUS CAESAR AND RICHARD III, AS WELL AS THE GODFATHER, SCARFACE AND THE SOPRANOS'
Daily Mail Patrick Marmion
'BERTOLT BRECHT'S BRUTAL BUT BLEAKLY COMIC PLAY ... WE FIND OURSELVES REVELLING IN THE COMEDY EVEN AS WE SHUDDER AT THE PASTICHE OF HITLER ... BREATHTAKING PERFORMANCES'
Sunday Express Martin Townsend
'A STERLING CAST'