"In a way, it's an anti-thriller. But I must never ever say that," says playwright Lucy Prebble in a programme note about her new, expansive and intriguing play A Very Expensive Poison, based on Guardian journalist Luke Harding's 2018 book about the Russian state-sanctioned 2006 murder of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, by then a British citizen living in London. Prebble's play similarly unpacks the often-unsayable in its dogged pursuit of revealing the truth of how he... Read more
Lucy Prebble's long-awaited drama based on the assassination of Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko gets its world premiere at the Old Vic theatre in 2019, directed by John Crowley. Tickets for A Very Expensive Poison are available now.
Litvinenko worked as a spy for the FSB specialising in organised crime before he was arrested on charges of 'exceeding the authority of his position', after he accused senior officials of ordering the assassination of Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky. He fled to England with his family in 2000 and was granted asylum, but in 2006, he was hospitalised and later died after being poisoned with radioactive polonium.
In 2016, Luke Harding's book A Very Expensive Poison - on which this play is based - delved into this shocking case to explore whether this could have been ordered by Russia's very highest in command.
A Very Expensive Poison is at the Old Vic from 20th August to 5th October 2019.
Lucy Prebble's previous plays include ENRON (Noel Coward), The Effect (National Theatre) and The Sugar Syndrome (Royal Court Theatre).
A Very Expensive Poison tickets are available now.