A: Noël Coward Pf: 1924, London Pb: 1925 G: Drama in 3 acts S: London and a country house, 1920s C: 6m, 4f Florence Lancaster is a rich socialite, who spends her time with meretricious acquaintances and, tolerated by her amiable husband David, with her lover Tom Veryan, an athletic young man. She struggles to pretend to herself that she is still young and adored by everyone. Her effete, drug-addicted son Nicky returns from Paris with his fiancée Bunty Mainwaring, who turns out to be the former mistress of Tom. At a party at the Lancasters' country home, Bunty and Tom fall in love again, and she breaks off her engagement with Nicky. When Florence discovers Bunty and Tom kissing, she throws a scene and makes a fool of herself. Nicky is forced to re-examine his wasted life and confronts his mother: ‘We swirl about in a vortex of beastliness. This is a chance – don't you see – to realize the truth – our only chance.’
A: Noël Coward Pf: 1924, London Pb: 1925 G: Drama in 3 acts S: London and a country house, 1920s C: 6m, 4f
Coward was the most popular British playwright of the inter-war years, and this was his first major success and the first of his plays to be performed in New York. Although the decadent behaviour of the characters, emphasized by Coward's own stylish performance as Nicky, shocked early audiences, the piece is in fact a latter-day morality play.