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Noe Coward Tonight at 8.30

Tonight at 8.30

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A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show you’re mad about the boy!
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Production Company:

Auditorium, Hampton Hill Theatre

From farces to fantasies, light comedy to iconic romance, satire to psychological exploration…  Tonight at 8.30 offers a remarkable range of genres, locales and experiences! 

TTC is delighted to present a unique opportunity to enjoy this sparkling showcase of theatrical gems from Noël Coward: the Master and Teddington-born & bred.

2024 marks both the 25th anniversary of Hampton Hill Theatre and the 125th birthday of our local playwright.  Teddington Theatre Club is celebrating all week, with a gala event on Saturday 15th June.  Before that, we are staging rehearsed readings of all ten of Coward’s Tonight at 8.30 one-act plays: two contrasting plays each evening.

Coward wrote the ten-play cycle in 1935 as a vehicle for himself and his dear friend and long-term collaborator Gertrude Lawrence, with whom he’d scored such a hit when they played Elyot and Amanda in Private Lives five years earlier.  There have been revivals of some of the individual pieces over the years (and, of course, Still Life became the iconic film Brief Encounter), but the complete cycle is rarely staged.  Indeed, all ten have never been staged together since 1935…

So this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see rehearsed readings of them all, directed and performed by a galaxy of TTC talent, including those who helped create our beloved Hampton Hill Theatre 25 years ago.

In 1947, Gertrude Lawrence wrote to Coward: “Dearest Noël, wherever I go… all I hear is ‘Please revive Tonight at 8.30’.”  Well, now we are!

 

 

 

Monday 10th June (7.45 pm) – We Were Dancing / Shadow Play – directed by Bob Dilley

We Were Dancing
Karl and Louise fall in love at a country club dance on a South Pacific island. They
spend the night planning their future. Only one problem: Hubert, her husband,
arrives.


Shadow Play
After five years, it looks like the marriage of Simon and Vicky is on the rocks, thanks to both looking elsewhere. When Vicky falls into a deep sleep, a surreal musical dream sequence ensues. Will they live happily ever after?

 

Tuesday 11th June (7.45 pm) – Fumed Oak / Family Album – directed by Mandy Stenhouse

Fumed Oak
Breakfast time in the home of Henry Gow, a downtrodden, middle-aged salesman.
While he silently eats, the three women in his life (wife, daughter and mother-in-law)
barely come up for air for talking and quarrelling. Just another normal day in his life.
However, when he gets home that evening, nothing will ever be the same again.


Family Album
A Victorian family gathers for the funeral of their father. What follows is far from
grim, as they reminisce, sing, and attempt to drink the cellar dry. Then Burrows the
butler makes a sudden revelation.

 

Wednesday 12th June (7.45 pm) – The Astonished Heart / Ways and Means – directed by Jenny Hobson

The Astonished Heart
Barbara’s old school pal Leonora arrives for a visit after years spent overseas.
Barbara introduces Leonara to her husband Christian. He’s instantly smitten,
weaving a tragic web of love, lust and lies.

Ways and Means
A French villa on the Cote d'Azur. Heiress Stella Cartwright and her gambling
husband Toby plot how to recover the money he’s lost at the casino. Is robbery too
far? And what about murder?

 

Thursday 13th June (7.45 pm) – Hands Across the Sea / Still Life – directed by Rodney Figaro

Hands Across the Sea
Commander Peter Gilpin and his wife Lady Maureen are hosting a cocktail party at
their Mayfair flat. It’s a very busy and gay affair. Oh, and they’ve lost track of whom
they’ve invited and who’s turned up. Chaos ensues.


Still Life
In the cafe of Milford Junction railway station, Laura Jesson, a housewife, is waiting
for her train home after shopping. She’s in pain from a piece of grit that has got into
her eye. Alec Harvey, a married physician, offers to remove it, setting in place one
of the greatest forbidden love stories ever written: the basis for the award-winning
film Brief Encounter.

 

Friday 14th June (8.30 pm)– Red Peppers / Star Chamber – directed by Sally Halsey

Red Peppers
George and Lily Pepper are a husband-and-wife act in touring music hall. Onstage
their act is a mess. Offstage, in their dressing room, they drink beer, argue
mercilessly and slag off the management. What could possibly go wrong?

Star Chamber
The committee for a home for destitute actresses meets on an empty West End
stage. While they mean well, their battling egos and butterfly meanderings
continually derail the agenda. After many amusing anecdotes and bitchy banter,
have they actually achieved anything?

 

With musical accompaniment (on relevant evenings) by Simon Douglas Lane

This amateur production of Tonight at 8.30 is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals Ltd. on behalf of Samuel French Ltd. www.concordtheatricals.co.uk

Cast
Production Team & Crew