Theatre: The irresistible portrayal of Arturo Ui

Theatre:The Resistible

Rise of Arturo Ui

Library Theatre, Manchester

The parable by which Bertolt Brecht describes the rise of Hitler in terms of Chicago gangsterdom seems leaden now, but Chris Honer's new production does point to some psychological complexity in the play.

David Fielder's Ui is introduced to us as a mad ape, barely restrained by the leash of his braces. Yet before he emerges as the Hitler of Nuremberg, there is some pathos in the slavishness with which he learns posture and gesture from a professional actor (excellent William Maxwell).

Fielder also brings a sense of loneliness to the role, a slight distraction that is tangible only in Arturo's speech impediment. The infiltration of other claims than self-interest is also represented in a tiny monologue from Dogsborough, the Hindenberg figure, lamenting what he has condoned. This is Richard Mayes, an actor I would be happy to watch chew gum, and he leads the support of a well-assembled cast of characterful faces.

To 7 March (box office, 0161-236 7110)

Jeffrey Wainwright