The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui at the Donmar WarehouseCultureTheatre
It would be an impossible task to find a single fault in this adaptation of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. A pinnacle of theatrical brilliance, this play is loaded with top performances, great settings and a political relevance that packs a punch. Even the programme is reasonably priced.
Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui is a satire of Hitler, making exact parallels with the way the Nazi dictator came to power through depictions of scandal, bribery, arson, betrayal and murder. Bruce Norris’s adaptation remains true to this narrative but instead hints, and not so subtlety, at a modern-day relevance.
A great immersive atmosphere is set up from the start as the audience becomes part of the world of Ui. The characters mingle with us before the performance begins and during the interval. The seating is part of the set and, at times, theatre-goers are asked to directly participate in the show, although they are all at least complicit in the play’s events for the entire duration.
Each and every performer is on point, most taking on multiple roles flawlessly, and with the occasional and beautiful short bouts of song between scenes, this cast really is among the best. Lucy Ellinson as Emanuelle Giri and Tom Edden as a range of characters deserve special mention for their engaging and powerful portrayals.
Although a relative newcomer to the stage, Lenny Henry is a fine Arturo Ui. He brings a bold, dominating presence and becomes the character perfectly. No one would believe it is the children’s television star, comedian or Premier Inn spokesman on stage.
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui leans heavily on the political, with more than a few direct Trump quotes and jokes. But that is very much the point and the people who disagree are perhaps those who need to see this play the most. But having said that, this is very much a production for everyone: funny, shocking, powerful and genuinely brilliant.
Photos: Helen Maybanks
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui is at Donmar Warehouse from 21st April until 17th June 2017, for further information or to book visit here.