1665, Newgate Prison, London. Matthias, an alchemist, has bankrupted himself trying to find a cure for the plague and has been thrown into prison for debt. There he is joined by Hannah, a garrulous widow, held for raising a riot, and young Jennet, who is sentenced to hang for theft. All three of them are busy plotting against each other in their efforts to escape when the pestilence arrives in the stone pits of Newgate. Whilst the other inmates, believing they are doomed, indulge in debauchery and drunkenness, Matthias begs his reluctant cellmates to help him make his sure-fire remedy. Unfortunately, the missing ingredient is gold - something they have no hope of obtaining without resorting to the only currencies they do have: sex, wit and lies. Four Thieves' Vinegar explores the behaviour of ordinary people in times of disaster and examines which elements of the human spirit remain indestructible, be it 350 years ago, or today.