Quadrille (play)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
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.


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]

Original cast[edit]

  • The Rev Edgar Spevin – John Gill
  • Sarah, his wife – Moya Nugent
  • Gwendolyn, his daughter – Pamela Grant
  • Waiter – Michael Allinson
  • Courier – Timothy Forbes Adam
  • The Marquess of Heronden (Hubert) – Griffith Jones
  • Mrs Axel Diensen (Charlotte) – Marian Spencer
  • Catchpole, a butler – Gordon Phillott
  • The Marchioness of Heronden (Serena) – Lynn Fontanne
  • Lady Harriet Ripley – Joyce Carey
  • Foster, a maid – Sybil Wise
  • Footman – Rhoderick Walker
  • Axel Diensen – Alfred Lunt
  • Octavia, Countess of Bonnington – Sylvia Coleridge
  • Waiter – Charles Rennison
  • Travellers, etc – Allegra Nicole, Derek Prouse, Betty Hare, Gillian Raine, Richard Scott and Dorothy Blythe.[8]


The date is 1873. The wife of Diensen, a railway magnate, has run off to the South of France with Lord Heronden. Diensen and Lady Herondon 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.


  1. ^ "Theatres", 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. ^ "Quadrille: Coward First Night in Manchester", The Manchester Guardian, 16 July 1952, p. 5
  5. ^ "Phoenix Theatre", The Times, 13 September 1952, p. 2
  6. ^ Barber, John. "The Lunts' Night – Not Coward's", The Daily Express, 13 September 1952, p. 3
  7. ^ Day, p. 564
  8. ^ Coward, p. 3


External links[edit]