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Cover to We Were DancingTonight at Eight-Thirty

A sequence of Nine One-act Plays and Musicals by Noel Coward. Designed to be presented in various combinations of three bills of three plays.

Manchester Opera House, 15 October, 1935. Phoenix Theatre, London 29 January, 1936

Tonight at 8.30: A series of one-act plays, the parts depict the decline of Western civilization, and are performed in different combinations to make up three shows.

We Were Dancing

Comedy; 2 Scenes

After spending an evening trying to convince her husband to let her go to Australia with her lover, next morning, a young wife has second thoughts about the
affair and decides against it.

Louise Chateris
Hubert Chateris
Karl Sandys
Clara Bethel
George Davies
Eva Blake
Maj. Blake
Country club members

The Astonished Heart

Play 6 Scenes

Through a series of flashbacks, in reverse order, the stormy passionate affair of a psychiatrist and his wife's friend is shown culminating in his death by suicide.

Christian Faber
Barbara Faber
Leonora Vail
Tim Verney
Susan Birch
Sir Reginald French

Red Peppers

Sketch with music

George and Lily Pepper have a music-hall act which is decidedly not up to scratch. They row with the manager after a poor first house, and during the second the musical director makes their act look ridiculous.

George and Lily Pepper, a music-hall duo
Mr Edwards, House Manager
Bert Bendy, Musical Director
Alf, call boy
Mabel Grace, an old actress

Hands Across the Sea


Colonial couple, the Wadhursts, are mistakenly at the London party given by the scatterbrained Piggie Gilpin. Piggy has just returned from a world tour and takes them for people she met on her travels. They are subjected to meaningless conversations about people they do not know by a hostess who has forgotten who they are.

Peter Gilpin, a young navy man
Alistair Corbett, a young navy man
Mr Wadhurst, a pleasant middle aged man
Mrs Wadhurst, his wife
Mr Burnham,
'Bogey' Gosling, handsome young marine
Lady Maureen 'Piggie' Gilpin
Claire Wedderburn
Walters, parlour maid

Fumed Oak

Unpleasant Comedy 2 scenes

Henry Gow is a poor down-trodden male in a household of dreadful women, a sloppy wife, a snivelling daughter, and a hideous nagging mother-in-law. After a few drinks at the pub he tells them all what he thinks, takes his savings, and leaves them to it for good.

Henry Gow
Doris, his wife
Elsie, their daughter
Mrs Rockett, mother-in-law

Shadow Play

Musical Fantasy - 1 scene

A woman, about to be divorced, takes an overdose of pills and relives the happiness the couple had in the early years. Her memories bring them back together.

Victoria Gayforth
Simon Gayforth
Martha Cunningham
George Cunningham
Sibyl Heston
Michael Doyle
A young man

Family Album

Victorian Comedy with music - 1 scene : Published 1936. Produced Theatre Royal, Birmingham 9 December, 1935; Phoenix Theatre, London 9 January, 1936

In 1860 when the Featherways family gather to hear the will of their deceased father, drink makes them reveal what they all thought about the old boy, a mean, pompous, and profligate bounder. Daughter Lavinia and butler Burrows liven up the proceedings even more by admitting that they have burnt the will that would have left the family fortune to father's mistress.

Jasper Featherways
Richard Featherways
Jane Featherways
Lavinia Featherways
Charles Winter
Harriet Winter
Edward Valance
Emily Valance

Ways and Means

Comedy 3 Scenes: Published 1936. Produced Phoenix Theatre, London 5 May, 1936

The Cartwrights have become unwelcome guests at Olive's Riviera house; they are broke. Their difficulties are solved when their host is robbed by a friendly chauffeur who goes halves with them, leaving them bound and gagged to allay suspicion.

Toby Cartwright
Stella Cartwright, his wife
Lord Chapworth
Olive Lloyd-Ransome
Princess Elena Krasiloff
Gaston, French valet
Stevens, chauffeur

Still Life

Play 5 Scenes: Published 1936. Produced Phoenix Theatre, London 5 May, 1936

Set in a railway station refreshment room with the comic activities of its personel, Alec and Laura, both married, meet and fall in love, have a few furtive moments of happiness and the agonies of guilt, and then finally part, their farewell being cruelly spoilt by a garrulous friend.

Alec Harvey
Laura Jesson
Albert Godby, ticket collector
Bill and Johnny, soldiers
Myrtle Bagot
Beryl Waters
Stanley, a young man
Dolly Messiter

Musical Numbers:

  1. Has Anybody Seen Our Ship?
  2. We Were Dancing
  3. You Were There
  4. Play, Orchestra, Play
  5. Then
  6. Men About Town