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REVIEW: A Very Expensive Poison (Lucy Prebble, RCS, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland)

Updated: Feb 11

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

8 November 2022

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


A very expensive poison (Lucy Prebble) at RCS, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

I have yet to see a show at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland that is anything less than excellent. But A Very Expensive Poison may be the best one yet.


Performed by the final year BA Acting students, and supported by the Production Design and Technology students, this is as high a quality theatre production as you will see anywhere.


I have not seen any other productions of Lucy Prebble's play 'A Very Expensive Poison', but based on what I just witnessed at RCS, it's a masterpiece.



A very expensive poison (Lucy Prebble) at RCS. Photo Credit: Jacob Martin Walls

Telling the true story of the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, this play is important and informative, but also hilarious! What a talent to balance a tragic story about real people with genuine laugh out loud moments. With direction from Finn den Hertog, wonderful sets and some truly amazing props - well, I am in danger of gushing, but this is an incredible achievement from RCS!


Don't be fooled that this is a student production. No, this is RCS. Their alumna is a 'who's who' of acting royalty.


A very expensive poison (Lucy Prebble) at RCS. Photo Credit: Jacob Martin Walls

Soon to join that list of superstars is Shannon Watson who gave a heartbreakingly believable and tender performance as Alexander's wife, Marina. Perfectly pitched, beautifully delivered - Shannon is outstanding. Tucker St Ivany's Alexander was equally accomplished in what must be a very challenging role to play.


Matt Barningham's Putin was brilliantly bonkers and frighteningly believable. His speech about the Moscow Theatre siege was chilling. I genuinely felt uncomfortable.


A very expensive poison (Lucy Prebble) at RCS. Photo Credit: Jacob Martin Walls

The difficult subject matter is offset with comic relief from (among others) the two FSB agents (Peter McCormick and Euan Mitchell). Their antics are farcical until you remember that they are (*probably) murderers.


It is this juxtaposition that makes A Very Expensive Poison so clever and well rounded:

- Evil murderers, machine guns and deadly Polonium - yes.

- Singing oligarchs and phallic disco balls - yes!!


A very expensive poison (Lucy Prebble) at RCS. Photo Credit: Jacob Martin Walls

All of the student cast are a delight. Playing multiple roles each, it was a joy to watch every one of them.


A Very Expensive Poison is playing at the Conservatoire until Friday 11 November only.

Beg, steal or borrow a ticket! It's a must see.


📸Production photos by Jacob Martin Walls


 

[Review first posted on Instagram 8 November 2022]


REVIEW: A Very Expensive Poison (Lucy Prebble, RCS, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland)


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