Whoever controls the mob controls Rome - welcome to the thrilling world of ancient power politics.
Following his spectacular RSC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, playwright Mike Poulton turns his pen to Robert Harris’ best-selling ‘Cicero’ trilogy in Imperium (Part 1): Conspirator.
Told through the eyes of Tiro, Cicero’s loyal secretary, this backstage view of Rome at its most bloody explores power struggles, civil wars, and the great orator’s personal highs and lows.
This production is transferring to London’s Gielgud Theatre for a strictly limited season from 14th June following its sold-out run at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Please note: Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Click here for tickets to Imperium (Part 2): Dictator.
5 stars - “Robert Harris’s Roman triumph is an exhilarating political drama” (Guardian)
4 stars - “Strikingly relevant. A must-see drama” (The Times)
4 stars - “Hail Cicero! A hugely impressive accomplishment” (Daily Mail)
4 stars - “The West Wing in blood-soaked togas” (Evening Standard)
Richard McCabe and Joseph Kloska reprise their roles as Cicero and Tiro.
Cicero is elected President of the Roman State by a unanimous vote of the Roman people. Catiline, his rival, seeks revenge for his election loss. He swears a blood oath to destroy Cicero, murder the government, and take Rome by force. Behind the conspiracy, Cicero suspects, lurks Julius Caesar – a young senator, ruthless and popular with the Roman mob. Greedy for absolute power, and in disagreement over Cicero’s Republican values, Caesar plans to bribe the electorate and reform the old corrupt constitution.
Meanwhile, Catiline stands again, going against Murena, who is under Cicero’s guidance and plots a violent attack. Cicero discovers the plot, and desperately attempts to prove its existence. Rufus, Cicero’s protégé, warns him that Catiline’s men are coming to kill him. When the conspirators are interrogated, Caesar is implicated in the plot. Cicero reluctantly passes death sentences on some of Rome’s leading citizens, but spares Caesar.
Following Cicero’s year as Consul, Clodius commits an act of sacrilege and the Vestal Virgins demand that he be publicly beaten to death. Cicero refuses to defend his friend in court. The jury is bribed, Clodius is acquitted, and swears revenge.
When Hybrida, Cicero’s drunken consular colleague, is prosecuted for treason and corruption, Cicero is forced to defend him. Rufus, Cicero’s young pupil, uses the trial to attack his old master. Cicero publicly accuses Caesar of being the fountainhead of all the evils in the state. With Caesar’s scheming, Clodius resigns his aristocratic title, becomes a plebeian, and wins an election as Tribune of the People. Clodius’ street gangs now rule Rome.
Caesar becomes Consul by a unanimous vote.
Cicero, the greatest orator of his age, now almost friendless, is forced to ask for Caesar’s protection. His attempt to preserve the rule of law, and defend Rome’s Republic against the predatory attacks of political rivals, discontented aristocrats, and would-be military dictators has been a failure.
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Find out more about the venue for your show: Directions, Transport options and facilities.
(3mins) Take Shaftesbury Avenue along the side where the famous illuminated signs are. The theatre will be on your left about 100 metres along.