Quadrille (play)

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Lynn Fontanne as Lady Heronden

Quadrille is a play by Noël Coward. The romantic comedy premiered in 1952 and starred Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt. It played on Broadway in 1955, where Lunt won a Tony Award for his performance.

History[edit]

After a provincial tour beginning at the Manchester Opera House on 15 July 1952, the play opened at the Phoenix Theatre in London on 12 September 1952 and ran until 27 June 1953.[1] The play starred Coward's friends Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt, with Griffith Jones, Marian Spencer and Sylvia Coleridge. It was moderately successful but failed to match the popularity of his pre-war hits.[2][3]

The Manchester Guardian praised the play for breaking away from Coward’s customary terse style and experimenting with romantic comedy "affectionate and sincere as well as amusing and elegant".[4] The Times was unimpressed, describing the piece as "romantic fustian".[5] Many of the reviews thought the plot derivative of Coward's pre-war hit, Private Lives. The acting of Fontanne and Lunt, however, was consistently praised, though The Daily Express called the production "a waste of expensive talent".[6]

Lunt won a Tony Award for best actor in the 1955 Broadway production, which also starred Fontanne and featured Brian Aherne, Edna Best and Jerome Kilty. The Broadway run lasted for 159 performances and could have profitably run for longer, but the Lunts preferred to close in March 1955.[7]

Plot[edit]

The date is 1873. The wife (Spencer) of Diensen, a railway magnate (Lunt) has run off to the South of France with Lord Heronden (Jones). Diensen and Lady Heronden (Fontanne) join forces to find their errant partners and get them back. They succeed, but are not glad to have done so because they have fallen in love with each other. At the end of the play, they elope together.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Times 13 September 1952, p. 2 and 27 June 1953, p. 2
  2. ^ Lesley, pp. 314, 370 and 361
  3. ^ Lahr, p. 136
  4. ^ The Manchester Guardian, 16 July 1952, p. 5
  5. ^ The Times, 13 September 1952, p. 2
  6. ^ The Daily Express, 13 September 1952, p. 3
  7. ^ Day, p. 564

References[edit]

External links[edit]