A sparkling, hilarious and technically brilliant short comedy, Hands Across the Sea is set at a cocktail party in a smart London flat where the telephone is always ringing and there are always three conversations happening at once. The earnest enquiries, enthusiastic reminiscences and society anecdotes scream along at dazzling pace, impeded not a jot by the hosts having no idea who exactly their guests are.
Hands Across the Sea, originally starring Gertrude Lawrence and Coward himself, is a short play from the Tonight at 8.30 cycle, conceived by Coward as an antidote to the boredom of a long run of the same script. It is a sequence of ten plays to be performed by the same cast in sets of three, alternating matinées and evenings, ranging from farce to melodrama to romantic comedy.
After touring, Tonight at 8.30 was produced at the Phoenix Theatre in London in 1936.