NIDA acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which we learn and tell stories, the Bidjigal, Gadigal, Dharawal and Dharug peoples, and we pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.


A Very Expensive Poison

Written by
Lucy Prebble

Directed by
Hannah Goodwin

Based on the book by
Luke Harding

A Very Expensive Poison

About the show

‘The second you start telling a story, you start telling a lie.’

Part biography, part spy drama, part absurdist nightmare, A Very Expensive Poison looks at the true story of the assassination by poison of Alexander Litvinenko by the Russian secret service in London in 2006.

At this time of unnerving global crises and with the rumblings of a new Cold War, A Very Expensive Poison sends us careening through the shadowy world of international espionage from Moscow to Mayfair. In the strange convergence of global politics and radioactive villainy, a man pays with his life.

The play by Lucy Prebble (co-Executive Producer and writer of Succession, Enron, and The Effect) premiered at London’s The Old Vic in 2019 and is an astute mix of real events, vaudeville and thriller. In this production by Belvoir Resident Director Hannah Goodwin, we are served layer on layer of Putinesque post-truth theatricality.

Content Notice: Bigotry, depictions/mentions of violence, discussions of paedophilia and death/dying, coarse language, smoking, explosions or loud noises (gunshot), smoke/haze effects.

Lucy Prebble is executive producer and writer on the BAFTA, Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning HBO drama Succession, for which she has also won a WGA and a PGA Award.

She is the writer and co-creator of I Hate Suzie, which was nominated for five BAFTAs including Best Drama, Best Writer and Best Actress. It was a huge hit for Sky, topping many major publications’ lists for best shows of 2020 in both the UK and the US where it is available on HBOMax. The sequel series, I Hate Suzie Too, premiered at the end of 2022 to rave reviews.

For theatre, Lucy has written the political and emotional meta-thriller A Very Expensive Poison (2019), which was a sell-out, five-star hit for the Old Vic and was Olivier-nominated for Best New Play. It won the Critics Circle Award for Best New Play and Best New Production of a Play at the Broadway World Awards. It also won her the Susan Smith Blackburn Award. Before that, The Effect, a study of love and neuroscience, was performed at the National Theatre and won the Critics’ Circle Award for Best New Play.

Lucy is the writer of Enron, about the infamous corporate fraud, which transferred to the West End after sell-out runs at both the Royal Court and Chichester Festival Theatre. Her first play, The Sugar Syndrome (2003) won her the George Devine Award and was performed at the Royal Court.

Hannah Goodwin is Resident Director of Belvoir. She was awarded the Andrew Cameron Fellowship in 2020 and was part of the Artists at Work creative development initiative at Belvoir during the COVID shutdown.

She was co-director of both Alana Valentine’s Wayside Bride and Caryl Churchill’s Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, playing in rep at Belvoir in 2022. She directed Never Closer downstairs at Belvoir in 2022. In 2023, she recently directed Blessed Union for Belvoir, as part of Sydney World Pride.

Performance Dates

Wednesday 25 October 2023, 7:15pm
Thursday 26 October 2023, 7:15pm
Friday 27 October 2023, 1:00pm, 7:15pm
Saturday 28 October 2023, 7:15pm
Monday 30 October 2023, 7:15pm
Tuesday 31 October 2023, 1:00pm
Wednesday 1 November 2023, 7:15pm

Runtime: 2 hrs 50 mins including 20 min interval

Act 1 1:15

20 min interval

Act 2 1:16


In order of appearance

Marina Litvinenko
Kaitlyn Elliott

Emmerson, Nurse Michena,
Segei, FSB Office 3, Mario
Scaramella, Tim

Jack Patten

Receptionist, Radiologist,
Nurse David, Kamishnakov,
FSB Officer 2, Kovtun

Owen Hasluck

Dr Bhatt, Youth 2, Natalia,
Anatoly, Cabin Crew,
Australian Cleaner,
Waitress, Dancing Girl

Ena Zamirič

Nurse Rezan, Dr Virchis,
Lluba, Galina, Detective Sergeant Hoar,
Professor Dombey, Theresa
May, Photographer

Teodora Matović

Jon, Dr Gent, Putin, Youth 1
Toby Carey

Dr Gunner, Youth 3, FSB
Officer 1, Lugovoi

Ariyan Sharma

Dr Dundhniwala, Walter,
Boris Berezovsky, Martin,
Dave West

JK Kazzi

Man with Stick, Technician,
Detective Inspector Hyatt

Chris Turner

Sasha Litvinenko
Harold Phipps

Jago Field
Angelina Kondakoff
Yohan Philip
Victor Xu

Creative Team

Hannah Goodwin*

Set/Props/Costume Designer
Taylah Miller

Lighting Designer
Bernadett Lorincz

Sound Designer/ Composer
Amy Norton

Movement Choregrapher
Gavin Robins**

Dance Choregrapher
Elle Evangelista*

Fight Choreographer
Troy Honeysett*

Magic Consultant
Adam Mada*

Intimacy Consultant
Shondelle Pratt*

Voice Coach
Laura Farrell*

Production Stage Manager
Maddison Craven

Deputy Stage Manager
Claire Edmonds-Wilson

Assistant Stage Manager
Emma Clulow

Construction Manager
Nicholas Day**

Properties Supervisor
Zali Kassi

Costume Supervisor
Lily Mateljan*

Head Electrician
Thomas Shepherd

Costume Maker(s)
Raphaela Kuhn
Siann Lau
Katrina Mark
Jessica Marshall
Imahn Pholi
Sophy Simpson

Set/Props Assistant Designer
Daisy Hughes

Costume Assistant Designer
Ella Wilkinson

Costume Assistant
Imahn Pholi
Sophy Simson

Properties Maker
Ari Gilbert

Properties Properties Assistant
Liam Bate

Floor Electrician/ Dome Operator
Niamh Nolland

Technical Assistant(s)
Archer Dametto
Chaii Ki Chapman
Harry Smyth
Jasmine Power
Poppy Townsend
Taylah Crouch
Thomas Shepherd

Sustainability Coordinator
Imogen Ross **

Beareszovsky Lyrics by Lucy Prebble, Music by Amy Norton and JK Kazzi

* Guest  ** Staff

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