The Old Vic today announces casting for Lucy Prebble’s new play A Very Expensive Poison, based on the book by Luke Harding and directed by John Crowley. The cast includes Thomas Arnold, Tom Brooke, MyAnna Buring, Callum Coates.
A shocking assassination in the heart of London. In a bizarre mix of high-stakes global politics and radioactive villainy, a man pays with his life. At this time of global crises and a looming new Cold War, A Very Expensive Poison sends us careering through the shadowy world of international espionage from Moscow to Mayfair.
John Crowley (Brooklyn, The Goldfinch) directs Lucy Prebble’s (The Effect, ENRON) reimagining of Luke Harding’s jaw-dropping exposé of the events behind the notorious death of ex-FSB Officer Alexander Litvinenko.
Lucy Prebble, writer, said:
‘Barely a week after the President of Russia declared liberalism dead in the Financial Times, it seems right to announce this explosive new play challenging that version of events. It follows the investigation Sasha Litvinenko undertook into his own murder, in the days before he died, and the fight for justice that Marina Litvinenko pursued for years after her husband's death. It is a wild ride from Moscow in the 90s, into the heart of London’s institutions, from Scotland Yard to mid-range sushi eateries, to the seedier establishments of Soho. But above all, like anything meaningful, it's a love story.’
John Crowley, director, said:
‘I am very excited to be working with such a wonderful company of actors on Lucy's astonishing play. And I look forward to audiences discovering afresh the shock of this story and how it speaks to the moment we currently find ourselves in globally.’
Director John Crowley
Set and costume Designer Tom Scutt Lighting Mimi Jordan Sherin
Sound Paul Arditti
Choreographer Aletta Collins
Composer Paddy Cuneen
Video Ewan Jones Morris
Casting Jessica Ronane CDG
Voice Charles Hughes D’aeth
Dialect Penny Dyer
Baylis Assistant Director Ebenezer Bamgboye
Expensive Poison opens at The Old Vic on 5 September with previews from 20 August.
Bergerac, Mourning Becomes Electra, Three Sisters, The Stoppard Trilogy (National Theatre); The Kid Stays in the Picture (Royal Court); Hamlet, Orlando (Royal Exchange Manchester). Television includes: A Christmas Carol, MotherFatherSon, Broken, The Missing II, War and Peace, Call the Midwife, Wolf Hall, Midsomer Murders, This is England, Miss Marple – Towards Zero. Film includes: The Aeronauts, The Woman in Black: Angel of Death, Far from the Madding Crowd, Thor 2, One Day, Made In Dagenham, Bel Ami, Robin Hood, Me and Orson Welles, The Duchess, The Golden Compass.
Tom Brooke (Alexander Litvinenko). Theatre includes: Berberian Sound Studio (Donmar); King Lear, The Kitchen (National Theatre); The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas, Jerusalem, Wild East (Royal Court); I Am The Wind, Some Voices (Young Vic); The Caretaker (Liverpool Everyman); Dying for It (Almeida); After The End (Bush); Osama The Hero (Hampstead); The Long and The Short and The Tall – TMA Award (Sheffield Lyceum). Television includes: Bodyguard, Electric Dreams, Dark Heart, Preacher, The Dresser, Sherlock, Mr Understood, Game of Thrones, Pulling, Room at the Top, The Hollow Crown: Henry V. Film includes: Ilkley, The Death of Stalin, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, Iona, The Boat That Rocked, Venus, Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason.
MyAnna Buring (Marina Litvinenko). Theatre includes: The Wasp (West End/Hampstead); Strangers on a Train (West End); The Vote (Donmar); Guardians (Theatre503/Pleasance); Seduced (Finborough); Twelfth Night (Northcott Theatre, Exeter). Television includes: The Witcher, One Night, In the Dark, Ripper Street, Banished, Our Story, Downton Abbey, Marple, The Poison Tree, White Heat, Coming Up: Colour, Any Human Heart, The Wrong Door, Doctor Who. Film includes: Official Secrets, Killers Anonymous, The Comedian's Guide to Survival, Hyena, Welcome to Karastan, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Parts I & II, Kill List, Doomsday, The Descent I & II.
Callum Coates (Onstage Swing/Dr Virchis/FSB Officer 2). Theatre includes: The 39 Steps (West End); The Doctor's Dilemma (National Theatre); Romeo & Juliet, King Lear (Shakespeare's Globe); A View from The Bridge (Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse Theatres); Fallen Angels (Salisbury Playhouse); Propaganda Swing (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry); Sound of Music, The Case of The Frightened Lady, Henry V (UK tour); Privates on Parade (Union Theatre); Hamlet (Norwich Playhouse); Wait Until Dark, Private Lives, Intimate Exchanges (Theatre Royal Margate); Henry V, The Tempest (France tour); King Lear (Tokyo); The Sound of Music (Cairo & Lebanon). Television includes: Outlander, The Witcher, Red Dwarf XII, Inside No 9, Mr Selfridge, Armstrong & Miller Show.
Marc Graham (Onstage Swing/Nurse David/Youth/FSB Officer). Theatre includes: All We Ever Wanted Was Everything – The Stage Edinburgh Award for Acting Excellence (Middle Child/Paines Plough Roundabout/Bush); Brighton Rock (Pilot/York Theatre Royal/The Lowry, Salford); Ten Storey Love Song, Weekend Rockstars, Modern Life is Rubbish, Saturday Night & Sunday Morning, When You Cure Me, Seven Pantomimes (Middle Child); Flood (Slung Low); The Gaul, Dancing Through The Shadows (Hull Truck); Another Someone (RashDash). Film includes: England is Mine.
Amanda Hadingue (Professor Dombey/Lluba/Photographer/Dr Bhatt). Theatre includes: Top Girls, A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer (National Theatre); The Madness of George III (Nottingham Playhouse); Miss Littlewood, The Duchess of Malfi, The Follies of Mrs Rich, The Merchant of Venice (RSC); I am Thomas (National Theatre of Scotland (Told by an Idiot); Tipping the Velvet (Lyric Hammersmith); Ghost Train (Royal Exchange Manchester); Playing for
Time (Sheffield Crucible); The Master and Margarita (Complicité); Rising Damp (UK tour); Hamlet (Shakespeare’s Globe); Get Santa!, The Wonderful World of Dissocia (Royal Court). Television includes: Good Omens, The Alienist, Bad Move, Casualty, Flowers, Holby City, Lead Balloon. Film includes: Black Pond, The Queen, The Darkest Universe.
Yasmine Holness-Dove (Onstage Swing/Natalia/FSB Officer 3/Youth 2/Waitress 2/Dr Dudhniwala). A Very Expensive Poison is Yasmine’s professional stage debut. Television includes: Alabama. Film includes: Loveshack. Awards include BBC’s 2019 Best Online Audio Series for Red Moon.
Lloyd Hutchinson (Dimitri Kotvun). Theatre includes: King Lear, Twelfth Night, Stones in His Pockets, One For The Road (West End); The Seagull, The Birthday Party (Lyric Hammersmith); Absolute Hell, Salome, Plough and the Stars, Husbands and Sons. The Beaux’ Stratagem (National Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Respectable Wedding (Young Vic); A View from The Bridge (Liverpool Playhouse); Little Revolution, Measure for Measure (Almeida); Particle of Dread, (The Playhouse Derry/Signature Theatre, New York); Boris Gudonov, Travesties, (RSC); Life is a Dream (Donmar); Rhinoceros, Talking to Terrorists (Royal Court); The Taming of The Shrew (Manchester Royal Exchange). Television includes: MotherFatherSon, Manhunt, Catastrophe, White Gold. Film includes: The Little Stranger, Florence Foster Jenkins, Mrs Henderson Presents.
Robyn Moore (Onstage Swing/Galina/Receptionist). Theatre includes: Orestia, Mary Stuart, A Homage Behind (West End); Scenes From An Execution, Macbed (National Theatre); The Tempest (St. Giles in The Field); 15 (Lyric Studio); Hamlet (RSC); Our Big Land (New Wolsey); Effie’s Burning (Etcetera Theatre); Othello (Shapeshifters Ink); The Wideness Of The Sea, Wish Number Four (Arcola); The Vagina Monologues (Pleasance); Voices (ROH); The Weavers (Gate); Morte D’Arthur, Faust Parts 1 & 2 (Lyric Hammersmith). Television includes: Casualty, Doctors, Waking The
Dead, The Surprise Café, Law & Order UK, Holby City, Eastenders, Family Affairs, The Bill, Tough Love, Touching Evil, Call Red, The Choir, Poirot. Film includes: Oedipus Tyrant, In Your Dreams, She’s Been Away.
Peter Polycarpou (Boris Bereszovsky). Theatre includes Moonlight and Nightschool; Oslo, Oklahoma! (National Theatre/West End); The Magistrate (National Theatre); City of Angels (Donmar); Working (Southwark Playhouse); Ross, Guys and Dolls, Sweeney Todd (Chichester); Last Easter (Birmingham Repertory Theatre); Scenes from 68* Years (Arcola); The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Bridewell Theatre); Angels in America (Manchester Library); The Choir (Citizens Theatre, Glasgow); Titus Andronicus, The Secret Garden, The Jew of Malta, Les Misérables (RSC); Artefacts (Bush/Off Broadway). Television includes: Riviera, Defending the Guilty, Unforgotten, Tyrant, The Lost Honour of Christopher Jeffries, Threesome, Hustle, The Last Days of Lehamn Brothers, Waking the Dead, Casualty, Birds of a Feather, Planespotting, Sunburn. Film includes: Blue Iguana, Cleanskin, O Jerusalem, De-Lovely, Oklahoma! Evita.
Sarah Seggari (Cabin Crew/Nurse Rezan/Australian Cleaner/ Nurse). Theatre includes: Emilia (West End); Emilia, Much Ado About Nothing, Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare’s Globe); Scan Artists (The Yard/Brighton Fringe/Roundhouse); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Broadway Theatre, Catford); Sonny, Frontline (Arts Educational Schools London). Film includes: Artemis Fowl, Elsie 3. Sarah trained at BRIT School and Arts Educational Schools London.
Michael Shaeffer (Andrei Luguvoi). Theatre includes: Girl From the North Country, All About My Mother (The Old Vic); The Vote (Donmar); How To Hold Your Breath, Friday Night Sex (Royal Court); Little Revolution, Mr Burns (Almeida); Godchild (Hampstead); Table, London Road (National Theatre); Merry Wives of Windsor, Twelfth Night (Stafford Castle); Restoration (Oxford Stage Company Tour); Hamlet (Northampton Royal Theatre). Television includes: The Liberator, The ABC Murders, Chernobyl, Bodyguard, Trauma, Rellik, Oasis, Vera, Taboo, SS-GB, Grantchester, The Last Panthers, Foyles War, Luther, Black Mirror, Mrs Biggs, Parade's End, Game of Thrones, Silent Witness. Film includes: Star Wars: Rogue One, London Road, London Fields, Broken, Anna Karenina, Trance, Kingdom of Heaven.
Reece Shearsmith (The President). Theatre includes: The Dresser, Absent Friends, Betty Blue Eyes, Ghost Stories, As You Like It, The Producers, ART (West End); League of Gentlemen – Live Again!, (UK tour); Hangmen (Royal Court/Alantic Theater, New York); Comedians (Lyric Hammersmith). Television includes: Inside No.9, The League of Gentlemen Anniversary Specials, Good Omens, Galavant, Doctor Who, Stag, Hunderby, Peter Kay’s Car Share, Mid- Morning Matters with Alan Partridge, The Widower, The Hollow Crown – Henry IV Part 2, Psychoville, Eric &
Ernie, Marple: Ordeal by Innocence, Catterick, The League of Gentlemen, Spaced. Film includes: High Rise, A Field in England, The World’s End, Burke & Hare, The Cottage, The League of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse, Shaun of the Dead.
Gavin Spokes (DI Hyatt) Theatre includes: Company; Guys and Dolls (West End); Quiz (West End/Chichester); One Man, Two Guvnors (West End/UK tour/Almeida); 1984 (West End/UK Tour/Almeida); Carousel (ENO); Sleeping Beauty (Hackney Empire); The Wind in The Willows (Northampton Theatre Royal); Laurel and Hardy (Watermill Theatre); She Stoops to Conquer (National Theatre); Noises Off (New Wolsey); Up on the Roof (Oldham Coliseum/UK tour); Guys and Dolls (Salisbury Playhouse/Theatre Clwyd/Ipswich); Holes (Stratford East); Sleeping Beauty (Wakefield Theatre Royal); Oklahoma, Assassins, The Grimm Tales (USA). Television includes: Brexit, Hitmen, Man Down, Will, Utopia, Casualty, Holby City, Obsession, Hollyoaks, The Cast, Lunch Monkeys, The Bill. Film includes: The Courier, Made of Honour.
Bea Svistunenko (Anatoly Litvinenko/Nurse Michena/Waitress). A Very Expensive Poison is Bea’s professional stage debut. She graduated this year from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Lucy Prebble. Theatre includes: The Effect - Critics’ Circle Award for Best New Play (National Theatre); ENRON - TMA Award for Best New Play (Royal Court/Chichester/West End/Broadway); The Sugar Syndrome – George Devine Award (Royal Court). Television includes: Succession, Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Lucy is currently creating a new series featuring Billie Piper. Other work includes: appearances on Have I Got News for You, Frankie Boyle's New World Order, as well as journalism for The Observer and LRB, and Head Scene Writer for the video game smash hit, Destiny.
John Crowley. Theatre includes: The Playboy of the Western World (The Old Vic); The Pillowman (National Theatre/Broadway); The Present, A Behanding in Spokane, A Steady Rain (Broadway); The Same Deep Water As Me, Tales From Hollywood, Juno and the Paycock (Donmar). Film includes: Brooklyn – BAFTA for Outstanding British Film, Boy A, The Goldfinch (upcoming).
A VERY EXPENSIVE POISON
A play by Lucy Prebble
Based on the book by Luke Harding Directed by John Crowley
Tue 20 Aug – Sat 5 Oct 2019
Mon–Sat: 7.30pm; Wed & Sat 2.30pm
Press night: Tue 5 Sep 2019 7pm
Audio Described Performance: 30 Sept 2019 7:30pm (touch tour at 6pm) Captioned Performance: 27 Sep 2019 7:30pm
Recommended age 12+
TICKETS: £12, £20, £30, £40, £55, £65
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