Cicero has retired from politics. Julius Caesar – dictator, and commander of Rome’s armies – is assassinated. Cicero sees his death as an opportunity to restore the Republic but the assassins, Brutus and Cassius, dither as power in Rome begins to fall into the lap of Mark Antony.
Determined to prevent Antony imposing a military dictatorship on Rome, Cicero forms an unlikely alliance with the 19-year-old great-nephew and heir of Julius Caesar. Confident that he can control the boy and use him to destroy Mark Antony, Cicero sets out to save the Republic.
The themes discussed are serious – the way men (and it is virtually all men) wield power and seek it. But the delivery is energetic. Richard McCabe's enthralling Cicero literally bounces around the stage, dancing on his toes, thrilled with his own cleverness, challenging all comers
Trump-like Pompey makes Roman political drama especially relevant
There is, absolutely undeniably, an imperative to see Imperium
What with the populism, the waffling, the bribery and the lies, it all feels alarmingly familiar to our own political dramas
‘Imperium’ is an impressive accomplishment, not least for the sheer stamina of the cast, who barely get a moment off on a two-show-day. You will undeniably learn a lot, and laugh a fair bit
The RSC’s staging of Robert Harris’s novels rolls out with the pace and grip of a political box-set