Play of the week: The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Duchess Theatre, London WC2


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The Independent Culture

The role of Arturo Ui calls for high-definition acting and that's what it gets, in spades, from Henry Goodman in Jonathan Church's splendid production, which began life last year in Chichester.

Brecht's blackly farcical "gangster spectacle" satirises Hitler's bloody rise to power by cutting him down to size as a ridiculous Chicago hoodlum who seizes control of the city's greengrocery protection racket.

In a tour de force of wild-eyed demonic intensity, the actor charts the evolution of an absurd upstart into blood-freezing demagogue.

Church lays savagely funny stress on how stage-managed Ui's ascent is, and the climax is a shocking coup de théâtre.

020 7400 1257, to 7 December