Join us for a post-show discussion following the show on Thu 6 Oct with the cast and director.
Presented in association with CIDRAL, University of Manchester.
★★★★ “A resonant and troubling metaphor for the great melancholy of power… Majestic Kathryn Hunter gives 10 great performances.” – The Guardian
★★★★ “A riveting exposé of the excesses of Ethiopia’s Haile Selassie… The evening belongs to Kathryn Hunter. What an actress. It could very well be the stage performance of the year… Walter Meierjohann’s direction is discreet and evocative.” – The Sunday Times
“His Majesty knew that a joke was a dangerous form of opposition.”
Master of transformation Kathryn Hunter brings to life an extraordinary fable of corruption, avarice and the collapse of absolute power – from the team behind the international success Kafka’s Monkey.
A world premiere based on the astonishing book about Ethiopia’s Haile Selassie by legendary journalist Ryszard Kapuściński.
Hunter creates a mesmerising cast of characters, all servants to a despotic ruler on the brink of downfall. In a kingdom obsessed with title and tradition, the lowly and the loyal have incredible stories to tell.
Featuring live music from Temesgen Zeleke.
Find out more about The Emperor by listening to our audience reactions below…
★★★★★ “Has all the musical ebb and flow of a great one-hour symphony… Kathryn Hunter spellbinds in a very Shakespearean downfall drama about the court of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie. Don’t miss it.” – The Arts Desk
★★★★ “Riveting… A skilled depiction of the way absolute authority corrupts and cocoons.” – Financial Times
★★★★ “Maintains a devastatingly light touch… Kathryn Hunter – tiny, nimble, crackle-voiced – shape-shifts to become a myriad of courtiers… [Musician] Temesgen Zeleke [is] tremendous.” – The Observer
★★★★ “There is something wonderful about watching a great actor in action and Kathryn Hunter is one of the best… A tour de force of theatrical story-telling… A richly absorbing hour.” – What’s On Stage
★★★★ “Incredibly moving… all enhanced by the intimacy of [Walter] Meierjohann’s production.” – Time Out
“You’d be by turns captivated, amused and impressed by what she does here, on Ti Green’s spare but beautiful set… The neat trick of the piece is to create a constant sense of the mercurial and the magical.” – The Daily Telegraph
★★★★ “Witty and haunting… Recommended.” – The Independent
“Kathryn Hunter, playing all the courtiers, offers a gloriously silly, gloriously detailed essay in political eccentricity… Any talented mimic could turn this taut, provocative and revealing comedy into something exceptional. Kathryn Hunter’s talent belongs in a different league.” – The Spectator
★★★★ “An extraordinary showcase for the talents of quicksilver quick-change artist Kathryn Hunter… A physical tour de force.” – Broadway World
★★★★ “Kathryn Hunter really is a mesmeric presence on stage… A rich and intelligent portrait of power, but also of love.” – The Stage
★★★★ “Walter Meierjohann’s intimate production, with a deceptively simple design by Ti Green, accentuates [Kathryn] Hunter’s mesmeric presence… The result, which occupies 70 unsettling minutes, is an intriguing vision of Selassie’s complexities.” – London Evening Standard
“Kathryn Hunter expertly pieces together the disparate characters from the Royal Court… Kathryn Hunter’s incredible performance means that it is possible to engage solely through the characters she creates… One of those plays that sits in your head and demands your attention long after you leave.” – Quiet Man Dave
★★★★ “Creative, stylish and incredibly powerful, this gripping production of The Emperor is a tour de force of theatrical story-telling… The strength of the production lies in Kathryn Hunter’s mesmerising performance. Extraordinary.” – The Reviews Hub
“A short but fascinating piece, played straight through without an interval, that doesn’t allow the attention to wander for a moment, not least due to another charismatic performance from one of our greatest actresses.” – British Theatre Guide
“A one-woman show, that it has to be said, could probably only ever be performed by such a very singular talent. This is Kathryn Hunter’s second visit to the Manchester arts centre in a year. If it’s to become her second HOME then she’s most welcome.” – Manchester Theatre Awards
★★★★ “Impressive… Renowned theatrical chameleon Kathryn Hunter magnificently transforms herself into a wide array of colourful and widely contrasting characters… Impeccably composed.” – The Arts Shelf
“The transformations were swift and flawless, with a simple change of gesticulation, body language or accent… Hunter gave both an engaging and informative insight into a world, and continuing problem, which has been forgotten since the mid 1970s. An engaging hour’s theatre.” – North West End
★★★★★ “Kathryn Hunter’s faultless performance and energy carries the piece throughout… Not to be missed.” – Upstaged Manchester
“Hunter deserves an extraordinary amount of credit for her almost one-woman show (her performance has been called the best of 2016 – and it must certainly be up there… Genuinely impressive” – The Manchester Review
“There is a tremendous amount of drama packed into 65 minutes and, at times, this is gripping, funny, and incredibly poignant… A performance to savour.” – Manchester Confidential
“Gripping… [Kathryn] Hunter shines once again as a chameleon with a seamless ability to switch character, accent and demeanour in a matter of seconds.” – Mancunian Matters
“A moving soliloquy on the ridiculousness of total power… Kathryn Hunter showcases exceptional talent and originality in her portrayal of the servants in Selassie’s court. An exceptional performance.” – Mancunion