Imperium

Gielgud Theatre
Shaftesbury Avenue, London

Public Previews: 14 June 2018
Opens: 30 June 2018
Closes: 8 September 2018

PART ONE: CONSPIRATOR

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1: Buy tickets online (Part ONE)
choose your own seats
2: Buy tickets online (Part ONE)
different seat availability

PART TWO: DICTATOR

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1: Buy tickets online (Part TWO)
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2: Buy tickets online (Part TWO)
different seat availability

Nearest Tube: Piccadilly Circus

Location street map

Theatre seating plan

Show times
Thu 14 June at 7.00pm ONE
Fri 15 June at 7.00pm ONE
Sat 16 June at 1.30pm ONE at 7.00pm ONE
Sun 17 June no performances

Mon 18 June no performances
Tue 19 June no performances
Wed 20 June no performances
Thu 21 June at 7.00pm TWO
Fri 22 June at 7.00pm TWO
Sat 23 June at 1.30pm ONE and 7.00pm TWO
Sun 24 June no performances

Mon 25 June at 7.00pm TWO
Tue 26 June at 7.00pm TWO
Wed 27 June at 7.00pm TWO
Thu 28 June at 1.30pm ONE and 7.00pm TWO
Fri 29 June at 7.00pm TWO
Sat 30 June at 1.30pm ONE and 7.00pm TWO
Sun 1 July no performances

Mon 2 July at 7.00pm ONE
Tue 3 July at 7.00pm ONE
Wed 4 July at 1.30pm ONE and 7.00pm TWO
Thu 5 July at 7.00pm ONE
Fri 6 July at 7.00pm TWO
Sat 7 July at 1.30pm ONE and 7.00pm ONE
Sun 8 July no performances

Mon 9 July at 7.00pm ONE
Tue 10 July at 7.00pm TWO
Wed 11 July at 1.30pm ONE and 7.00pm TWO
Thu 12 July at 7.00pm ONE
Fri 13 July at 7.00pm TWO
Sat 14 July at 1.30pm ONE and 7.00pm TWO
Sun 15 July no performances

Mon 16 July at 7.00pm ONE
Tue 17 July at 7.00pm TWO
Wed 18 July at 1.30pm ONE and 7.00pm TWO
Thu 19 July at 7.00pm ONE
Fri 20 July at 7.00pm TWO
Sat 21 July at 1.30pm ONE and 7.00pm TWO
Sun 22 July no performances

Mon 23 July at 7.00pm ONE
Tue 24 July at 7.00pm TWO
Wed 25 July at 1.30pm ONE and 7.00pm TWO
Thu 26 July at 7.00pm ONE
Fri 27 July at 7.00pm TWO
Sat 28 July at 1.30pm ONE and 7.00pm TWO
Sun 29 July no performances

Mon 30 July at 7.00pm ONE
Tue 31 July at 7.00pm TWO
Wed 1 Aug at 1.30pm ONE and 7.00pm TWO
Thu 2 Aug at 7.00pm ONE
Fri 3 Aug at 7.00pm TWO
Sat 4 Aug at 1.30pm ONE and 7.00pm TWO
Sun 5 Aug no performances

Mon 6 Aug at 7.00pm ONE
Tue 7 Aug at 7.00pm TWO
Wed 8 Aug at 1.30pm ONE and 7.00pm TWO
Thu 9 Aug at 7.00pm ONE
Fri 10 Aug at 7.00pm TWO
Sat 11 Aug at 1.30pm ONE and 7.00pm TWO
Sun 12 Aug no performances

Mon 13 Aug at 7.00pm ONE
Tue 14 Aug at 7.00pm TWO
Wed 15 Aug at 1.30pm ONE and 7.00pm TWO
Thu 16 Aug at 7.00pm ONE
Fri 17 Aug at 7.00pm TWO
Sat 18 Aug at 1.30pm ONE and 7.00pm TWO
Sun 19 Aug no performances

Mon 20 Aug at 7.00pm ONE
Tue 21 Aug at 7.00pm TWO
Wed 22 Aug at 1.30pm ONE and 7.00pm TWO
Thu 23 Aug at 7.00pm ONE
Fri 24 Aug at 7.00pm TWO
Sat 25 Aug at 1.30pm TWO and 7.00pm TWO
Sun 26 Aug no performances

Mon 27 Aug at 7.00pm TWO
Tue 28 Aug at 7.00pm TWO
Wed 29 Aug at 1.30pm TWO and 7.00pm TWO
Thu 30 Aug at 7.00pm ONE
Fri 31 Aug at 7.00pm TWO
Sat 1 Sep at 1.30pm ONE and 7.00pm TWO
Sun 2 Sep no performances

Mon 3 Sep at 7.00pm ONE
Tue 4 Sep at 7.00pm TWO
Wed 5 Sep at 1.30pm ONE and 7.00pm TWO
Thu 6 Sep at 7.00pm ONE
Fri 7 Sep at 7.00pm TWO
Sat 8 Sep at 1.30pm ONE and 7.00pm TWO

PART ONE runs 3 hours and 40 minutes including two intervals

PART TWO runs 3 hours and 15 minutes including two intervals

Seat prices
£? to £?
Premium Seats Also Available
(plus booking fees if applicable)

Imperium

The Royal Shakespeare Company presents Mike Poulton stage adaption of Robert Harris's Cicero trilogy under the title of Imperium in London for a 13-week season

Performed in two parts - Part One: Conspirator and Part Two: Dictator.

Mike Poulton stage adaption of Robert Harris’ best-selling Cicero trilogy is based on the life, and wily times, of the lawyer, orator and statesman, Marcus Tullius Cicero who was born in Italy in 106 BC and was assassinated in 43 BC, aged 63. Robert Harris’ trilogy comprises of Imperium, Lustrum and Dictator, and these have been adapted by Mike Poulton into six one-act plays which are presented in two performances, each with two intervals.

Imperium I: Conspirator - Told through the watchful eyes of Cicero’s loyal secretary, Conspirator chronicles how the great orator’s early success unwittingly paves the way for a brutal and bloody end to the Republic.

Imperium II: Dictator - With Rome in chaos at the beginning of Dictator, Cicero must use all his brilliance to restore the power of the Senate from the civic mob and their would-be Emperor, one Julius Caesar.

The cast features Richard McCabe as 'Cicero' and Joseph Kloska as 'Tiro', who are both reprising their roles from the Stratford staging. The cast in London also 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. Directed by Gregory Doran with movement by Anna Morrissey, designs by Anthony Ward, lighting by Mark Henderson, music by Paul Englishby and sound by Claire Windsor.

When these two productions where originally seen at the Swan Theatre in Stratford in December 2017, Patrick Marmion in the Daily Mail thought that "Mike Poulton's two-part adaptation of Robert Harris' trilogy of novels for the RSC is remarkable... Like Poulton's adaptation, Gregory Doran's production handles the dense politics with a light touch, which drifts only occasionally into Blackadder territory." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard described how "Mike Poulton writes short, vivid scenes, and director Gregory Doran mostly maintains a zippy fluency... The uncluttered approach allows us to focus on the plays' high-octane rhetoric of power and masculinity. There's a keen interest in the business of 'fake news' and 'alternative facts', but despite its topical resonance this is above all an instructive and entertaining vision of one of history's great self-made heavyweights." Michael Billington in the Guardian praised how "Gregory Doran marshals events with exemplary speed and clarity... this a tremendous show that avoids Hollywooden Cecil B DeMillery and verbal tushery to take us to the heart of ancient Rome. The highest compliment I can pay it is that, after seven hours in the theatre, I felt exhilarated rather than exhausted." Dominic Maxwell in the Times highlighted that "the RSC and Mike Poulton here repeat their trick from the Wolf Hall plays of turning fictional accounts of historical power games into plain-speaking, propulsive, epic theatre. And the director Gregory Doran's poised, beautifully acted productions remind us that the twists and turns are as old as civilisation." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times commented that "the linguistic idiom is contemporary and it unfolds at a reasonable pace over six hours of playing time (plus two intervals in each of the two parts). All in all, though, it feels less compelling than its Tudor-era predecessor, and especially towards the end the alternation of flippancy and sombreness threatens to become formulaic." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph said that "I wish I could say there had been no fumbling in this gargantuan undertaking, but broadly speaking there's too much sweat, and not enough blood and tears... the filleting down of Robert Harris's masterwork has yielded few illuminating features... A Herculean effort but oddly underpowered: caveat emptor."

Richard McCabe's London stage credits include the role of 'Tropatchov' in Lucy Bailey's production of Ivan Turgenev's Fortune's Fool at the Old Vic Theatre in 2014; role of 'Harold Wilson', opposite Helen Mirren as 'Queen Elizabeth II', in Stephen Daldry's production of Peter Morgan's The Audience at the Gielgud Theatre in 2013; the role of 'Sir Toby Belch' in Gregory Doran's revival of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company, at the Duke of York's Theatre in 2009; and the role of 'Austin', opposite Peter Bowles as 'Beau Brummell', in Caroline Hunt's production of Ron Hutchinson's The Beau at the Haymarket Theatre in 2001.

Joseph Kloska's West End stage credits include the role of 'Samuel Ward' in Gregory Doran's production of David Edgar's play Written on the Heart, presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company, at the Duchess Theatre in 2012.

Mike Poulton's London theatre stage adaptations include Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, directed by Jeremy Herrin and presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company, at the Aldwych Theatre in 2014; Ivan Turgenev's Fortune's Fool, directed by Lucy Bailey, at the Old Vic Theatre in 2013; and Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, directed by Gregory Doran, Rebecca Gatward and Jonathan Munby, and presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company, at the Gielgud Theatre in 2006.

This production was originally seen at the Royal Shakespeare Company's Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon (previewed from 16 November 2017, opened on 7 December 2017 and closed on 10 February 2018) with a cast that included Richard McCabe as 'Cicero', Joseph Kloska as 'Tiro', Siobhan Redmond, 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, Lily Nichol, Piero Niel Mee, David Nicolle, Patrick Romer, Jay Saighal, Christopher Saul, Eloise Secker and Simon Thorp.

"There's a lot of accurate detail in this adaptation of Robert Harris's trilogy about the orator who coined some of Latin's best-known catchphrases ("O tempora, o mores") and depicted himself as the voice of Roman republicanism, only to be shafted by the autocratic Caesars. Or, at least, it's accurate if you believe Cicero's own account, the pen, in this case, having outlasted the sword. The RSC adaptation, served up in two three-course chunks, takes us from Cicero's pomp to his last moments. Mike Poulton has previously adapted great slices of Chaucer, Malory and Hilary Mantel for the RSC... Like Mantel's Thomas Cromwell, Cicero is an ideal guide to his world: self-made, witty and guileful, a born outsider who reaches the inside, but makes the fatal mistake of thinking he's safe there... Cicero, so canny when playing on the dotard faction, so wary of Caesar's ambition, is blindsided by the young. He dismisses backstabbing protégés and is oblivious to Octavian's steely ambition... Were there any women in ancient Rome, you ask? Yes: there were three, apparently. One of them was nasty; one of them was sickly; and one was Terentia, Mrs Cicero, who bankrolled her husband's political ambitions, but is here mostly shown quacking about jewellery and leaving the room when the men discuss business. Siobhan Redmond is wasted, along with half the human race. Does this matter? It makes for a masculine, dick-swinging view of politics — too many bellows-lunged patricians and too much rhetorical manspreading." The Sunday Times

"The adaptation is clear, concise and fast-moving. Poulton cleverly extends the role of Tiro, Cicero's slave and the trilogy's narrator, so that he becomes a Roman equivalent of the Common Man in A Man For All Seasons. He also places him in the tradition of the slave who is cleverer than his master, familiar from the comedies of Plautus. He underlines every possible contemporary parallel, presenting Pompey Magnus as a prototype Donald Trump... The adaptation is only partially successful. With so much of the novels' texture excised, what remains becomes repetitive. Cicero is forced to act to save the Roman Republican ideal from a series of threats that, while superficially different, amount to the same... Gregory Doran's production is surprisingly colourless. Scores of scenes consist of senators sitting on steps to debate the latest crisis. One longs for the rare spectacle of the Vestal Virgins' rites and Caesar's funeral. Too much of the acting is on the same strident note. Worst of all there is virtually no emotional content. Does power politics need to be so dry?" The Sunday Express

Imperium in London at the Gielgud Theatre public previews from 14 June 2018, opens on 30 June 2018 and closes on 8 September 2018