Old Vic, London
The twisted tale of the Russian dissident’s death by radioactive poisoning employs songs, puppets and even Putin as an unreliable narrator
Watching Lucy Prebble’s fascinating new play about the murder of Alexander Litvinenko on British soil, I was frequently reminded of her earlier hit, Enron. Prebble once again bases her play on fact, tells a complex story with great clarity and adopts a variety of techniques, including direct address, puppetry and song, to create a uniquely theatrical spectacle.
Prebble openly acknowledges her debt to Luke Harding’s book of the same name which exposed the astonishing details of the Litvinenko case but she goes her own way about recounting the story. The first half, largely seen through the eyes of Litvinenko’s wife, Marina, reminds us how this former detective with Russia’s FSB (successor to the KGB) died in a London hospital in 2006 of a radioactive element known as polonium-210. His offence was to have exposed the links between organised crime and the Russian government which forced himself and his wife to flee to Britain. Having meticulously explained the background, Prebble then allows Litvinenko’s former boss, Vladimir Putin, to become the unreliable narrator whilst showing how two Kremlin hitmen were despatched to London to carry out the killing.
Russia | The Guardian
1. Russia from Michael_Novakhov (116 sites)