Written as a vehicle for Coward's own acting talents alongside his frequent stage partner Gertrude Lawrence, Tonight at 8:30 is Coward's ambitious series of ten one-act plays which saw him breathe new life into the one-act form. First performed in London in 1936, the plays perfectly showcase Coward's talents as a playwright, providing a sparkling, fast-paced and remarkably varied selection of theatrical gems.
All ten plays are collected together into this volume that features both Coward's own preface and an introduction by Barry Day, editor of The Letters of Nöel Coward.
Coward wrote of the first series of three plays with characteristic delight: 'They are all brilliantly written, exquisitely directed, and I am bewitching in all of them.' Gertrude Lawrence wrote to Coward in 1947, 'Dearest Noël, wherever I go . . . all I hear is "Please revive Tonight at 8.30!"'
'Tonight at 8.30 surprises as much as it delights as, in some of the plays, Coward takes us to a world far removed from that of the wealth and glamour of the debonair London socialites who dominated much of his earlier work. But The Master's polish and sparkle are never far away as music and song intertwine with the wit and insight of one of our greatest ever playwrights.' Chichester Festival Theatre, 2006.
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About the Author
Noël Coward was born in 1899 in Teddington, Middlesex. He made his name as a playwright with The Vortex (1924), in which he also appeared. His numerous other successful plays included Fallen Angels (1925), Hay Fever (1925), Private Lives (1933), Design for Living (1933) and Blithe Spirit (1941). During the war he wrote screenplays such as Brief Encounter (1944) and In Which We Serve (1942). In the fifties he began a new career as a cabaret entertainer. He published volumes of verse and a novel (Pomp and Circumstance, 1960), two volumes of autobiography and four volumes of short stories: To Step Aside (1939), Star Quality (1951), Pretty Polly Barlow (1964) and Bon Voyage (1967). He was knighted in 1970 and died three years later in Jamaica.