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NEWS: Richard McCabe stars as Cicero in RSC adaptation of Robert Harris’ Imperium, Full cast

In Books, News, Plays, Press Releases, Regional theatre, Sticky by Press ReleasesLeave a Comment

Casting has been announced for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s highly anticipated stage premiere of Robert Harris’ Roman trilogy, Imperium, which will be led by Olivier and Tony Award winner Richard McCabe (The Audience) as Cicero, Siobhan Redmon as his wife Terenia and Joseph Kloska as his servant Tiro.

FOR SERVICES RENDERED – Chichester Festival Theatre

In Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews by Matt MerrittLeave a Comment

It’s fitting that in a Chichester Festival Theatre season that
ends with three of Chekhov’s early works they also feature a play so indebted
to his introspective, often melancholic style. Like Chekhov, W. Somerset Maugham has crafted a play
that has a tendency to be fascinating and at times incredibly frustrating but
that certainly deserves attention.

The plot centres on the home of a
country solicitor and the slow disintegration of his family playing out as we
watch. There are some incredibly well thought out performances, not the least
from Stella Gonet as the matriarch whose
perfect manners and visible love for her family hide the fact she is
desperately ill. Her children are all, in some way, broken and she initially
throws herself into looking after them before finally admitting defeat, and
confessing her relief that her days are numbered.

Her son Sidney, blinded in the Great
War thuds about the set, his walking stick bouncing off the furniture as he
hides his distress below a thick layer of sarcasm. It’s a fine depiction by Joseph Kloska whose vacant stares are
often somewhat unsettling and whose disability allows him to say what other
characters won’t.

Elsewhere youngest sister Lois is
pursued by an aging lothario while eldest sister Eve shows signs of cracking
under the pressure of caring for her family. Justine Mitchell gives Eva a distinct vulnerability and we get the
impression she was never allowed to grieve for the love she lost to World War
I. Sadly her burgeoning romance with the seemingly disinterested Collie is
incredibly clunky and the long pauses (presumably director Howard Davies intention is to make the situation uncomfortable to
watch) come across almost as if neither actor is quite sure where the scene is
going.

There are moments too when the script
descends into clichéd “stiff upper lip” territory that borders on pastiche.

Thankfully though, such moments
are followed by more dark humour and gloomy contemplation – a tone Maugham
seems much more comfortable with. But the lasting impression is of a play that
isn’t quite worthy of the fine cast performing it!