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CYANIDE AT 5 Comes to the King's Head Theatre This Month

Performances run 15 – 26 November.

A famed author meets the daughter of a Holocaust victim and finds they have a greater connection than she could have feared, in a haunting psychological drama. Written in 1996 by dissident Czech playwright and novelist Pavel Kohout, whose experiences inspired two Tom Stoppard plays, Cyanide at 5 is the unfolding of a meeting between two women: a novelist and a seeming fan. Zofia, a writer whose only novel has made her rich and famous, is flattered by a visit from Irene, a younger Jewish woman whose mother was a victim of the Holocaust. And for whom Zofia had an unrequited passion. But Zofia's novel has chimed with Irene in a darker way. She has a bottle of cyanide in her handbag.

Director Peter Kavanagh said, "I am fascinated by this play. It's full of dramatic surprises, and life-changing revelations - for both characters. Kohout's fine writing mixes dramatic language with metaphors on his own craft: authentic authorship."

Pavel Kohout (born 1928) is a Czech and Austrian writer, awarded with the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Arts and the Honorary Medal of the Austrian capital. His work, performed widely across Europe but rarely in the UK, includes Poor Murderer which opened on Broadway in 1976, and several novels including White Book, I Am Snowing and The Widow Killer. He was the inspiration behind Tom Stoppard's Cahoot's Macbeth and Dogg's Hamlet, based on his banishment from working in theatres by the communist government and so performed an adaptation of Macbeth in living rooms in Prague. Kohout was a major figure in the Czech Prague Spring, culminating in his banishment from his homeland until the fall of Soviet Russia.

Peter Kavanagh is a director for stage, audio and screen. Stage work includes The Most Dangerous Woman in the America (Windsor Fringe 2021), Not Quite Jerusalem (Finborough Theatre 2020) The Labyrinth (Dublin Theatre Festival, Royal Court Theatre). A winner and nominee for multiple awards including Colombus Film Festival, Cork Film Festival, a recent BBC Audio Drama Award nomination for best director for The Wild Duck, and for Sony, Writer's Guild, and Prix Italia awards. His work for BBC-Drama on 3 include Rosmersholm, Juno and the Paycock, and Playboy of the Western World.



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