The impatient heiress Stella and her gambling husband Toby haven’t a penny, but they manage to live elegantly enough sponging off their high society friends. As the play opens they are outstaying their welcome in the Lloyd-Ransomes’s villa on the Côte d’Azur, flinging cynical epigrams at each other over breakfast. But as Toby has no luck in the casino, their bridge debts are becoming unmanageable and the last of their jewellery is pawned, something very melodramatic needs to occur for them to get away with it this time.
Ways and Means is a short play from Tonight at 8.30, originally starring Gertrude Lawrence and Coward himself, 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.