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Imperium I: Conspirator hero image
Imperium I: Conspirator hero image
Imperium I: Conspirator hero image
    a historic play
    Broadway World
    some muscular performances
    The Evening Standard

Imperium I: Conspirator tickets

Please Note: Imperium is performed in two plays, which can be enjoyed as independent historical thrillers, or together as one unmissable theatrical event. Imperium II: Dictator tickets can be bought separately here.

Description

The RSC’s celebrated stage adaptation of Robert Harris’s Cicero trilogy arrives at the West End’s Gielgud Theatre for a strictly limited 12-week season. Imperium focuses on philosopher Cicero’s turbulent Roman rule from the narration of his personal secretary Tiro, in a highly personal take on the reign of one of history’s greatest ever orators, in a world known for its brutality.

Imperium I: Conspirator is the first part, exploring a conflicted Rome after Cicero is elected Consul. Cicero’s rival Catiline promises to destroy him and take over Rome, but a young and driven Julius Caesar is working behind the scenes with his own agenda. Who will take, and keep, control of the fractured government?

Olivier and Tony Award-winning actor Richard McCabe stars as Cicero, opposite Joseph Kloska as Tiro. McCabe earned his accolades for his performance in The Audience and is also well-known for appearing in the BBC’s Collateral, whilst Kloska’s credits include Netflix’s The Crown.

Casting includes Nicholas Boulton, Guy Burgess, Daniel Burke, Jade Croot, Peter De Jersey, Joe Dixon, John Dougall, Michael Grady-Hall, Oliver Johnstone, Paul Kemp, Patrick Knowles, Hywel Morgan, David Nicolle, Siobhan Redmond, Patrick Romer, Christopher Saul, Eloise Secker and Simon Thorp.

The productions are adapted for the stage by playwright, writer and adaptor Mike Poulton, whose previous credits include Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies for the RSC, which later transferred to the West End. Artistic Director of the RSC Gregory Doran directs, with further creative team including designer Anthony Ward, lighting designer Mark Henderson and sound designer Claire Windsor, with compositions by Paul Englishby.

Garnering critical acclaim in Stratford, Imperium is the historical thriller that brings to light the behind-the-scenes of the downfall of the Republic of Rome. Playing in two parts, Imperium I: Conspirator runs at Gielgud Theatre from 14 June to 8 September 2018, with a press night on 30 June 2018.

Performance dates: 08 Sep 2018 - 08 Sep 2018

Running time: 3 hours 40 mins (including two intervals)

Age recommendation: Recommended 12+. No under 3's.

Special notice: Historical fiction fans, audiences who love political theatre and those interested in the RSC’s work won’t want to pass over this two-part production.

Best Seats

Imperium I: Conspirator seat view photos show what view you will get for your money. Unfortunately we do not have any seat views for this show.

Latest audience reviews

My partner and I chose to see this show as my partner is very interested in History and particularly... More

np2 28 Aug 2019

My partner and I chose to see this show as my partner is very interested in History and particularly political figures in History. It was two parts, we saw Imperium II: Dictator the following night, and it honestly did not live up to expectations. Given the show was supposed to be about the great orator Cicero, you'd expect his to be the strongest speeches of the show. Sadly the actor just didn't have the same flare as the guy playing Julius Caesar so it felt like the epic speech that ended an act just came off as weak by comparison. The plot was overly long and plodding at times with little seeming point or message. Cherry on top was the role of Pompey, one of the great historical battle commanders, being played for "laughs" as a sort of Donald Trump gag... It was very disappointing.

np2 28 Aug 2019

We don’t really get Roman epics on the stage much anymore and who can blame any writer to avoid the subject.... More

braintree 29 Jun 2018

We don’t really get Roman epics on the stage much anymore and who can blame any writer to avoid the subject. Do you go all controversial like The Romans in Britain (1980) or do you find yourself constantly compared to I, Claudius. Mike Poulton is a brave and skilled man, he’s adapted Hilary Mantel’s epic books Wolf Hall and Bring Out the Bodies to the stage and now he is tackling Robert Harris’s Imperium trilogy in this two-part production, originally produced at the RSC. Richard McCabe is Cicero, a man of low standing but high intelligence (he’s a lawyer and in the senate) who happened to marry rich, Terentia (Siobhan Redmond) whose election to counsel is expensive and he’s made a few enemies along the way, such as Catiline (Joe Dixon), Crassus (David Nicolle) and a certain young man called Julius Caesar (Peter De Jersey). At 3 hours and 25 minutes this has a lot going on, there is an intrigue and conspiracy from beginning to end. There is also the story of Cicero, told through his loyal slave Tiro (Joseph Kloska) which can often feel too expository at times. When the play just gets on with the complex relationships in Roman high society (corruption, backstabbing and incest!) it is a fine piece of work. McCabe is incredible as Cicero and believable as a great orator with even greater morals. Cicero isn’t a perfect man, which he tries to be as corrupt as his fellow senators it never quite goes to plan but the character is warm and likable. Whilst Kloska’s Tiro plays a crucial role in the book his presence here isn’t always as important, often sitting on the sidelines, this concept may work in novels but it struggles to find a place on the stage. Imperium: Conspirator’s biggest strength is its subtle (and often non subltle) looks at today’s politics. Pompey Magnus looks a lot like Donald Trump, Julius Caesar (an idea explored in The Bridge Theatre’s recent adaptation of the Shakespeare play) is a populist, promising the lower classes land when he knows they have no idea how to work it and living amongst them in the slums to get their votes. Whilst Cicero argues against the idea due to their lack of skill you can’t help but wonder if there is snobbery involved, despite working up himself. Conspirator ends with Cicero’s reputation, as Julius Caesar takes power, is destroyed as he considers exile. What next for our hero and can he ever return to Rome.

braintree 29 Jun 2018
JenK 14 Sep 2018

Imperium (I) was outstanding. I did not read the book so I didn't have a background to the story. The... More

LadyR 10 Aug 2018

Imperium (I) was outstanding. I did not read the book so I didn't have a background to the story. The acting from the entire cast is remarkable and the storyline is very entertaining.

LadyR 10 Aug 2018

Imperium I was super. It's a very complex story with lots of plotting and talk and less action but they... More

janemason 10 Aug 2018

Imperium I was super. It's a very complex story with lots of plotting and talk and less action but they really got across what a mire of intrigue Rome was. Some characters were a bit overdone but Cicero was superb. His contradictory mix of courage and cowardice, high moral and low scheming really came across.

janemason 10 Aug 2018

At 3 hours 40 mins in length this is quite a hard slog as it is incredibly wordy. The acting however... More

joc78 Top 10 reviewer04 Jul 2018

At 3 hours 40 mins in length this is quite a hard slog as it is incredibly wordy. The acting however is what you would expect from the RSC - simply amazing. Richard McCabe in particular steals the show. Although I didn't quite grasp everything that was happening as you have to listen intently to everything, it was a gripping afternoon in the theatre!

joc78 Top 10 reviewer04 Jul 2018
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