Lenny Henry’s Donmar debut as the eponymous mobster Arturo Ui looked like it might be the highlight of an intriguing 2017 of programming for the Donmar.
And all in all I wasn’t disappointed – the production zipped along full of Brechtian fun and swagger. Henry’s supporting cast reminded the audience that we were in safe hands if ever there were creaky moments from our lead – which there undoubtedly were a few. I was unfortunate not to see Henry’s critically acclaimed Othello at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry – but by all accounts he was wonderful – he wasn’t wonderful here. Though he was absolutely fine.
I may have mentioned before – I’m not the world’s biggest Brecht fan – but oddly some of the most Brechtian techniques – namely an ostentatious section of audience participation towards the finale – worked most successfully.
Ultimately this was a lot of fun, but wont rank as one of the Donmar’s recent classics.