Quadrille, a glittering Victorian comedy of marital reassortment, tells the story of Hubert, the Marquess of Heronden, and Charlotte, otherwise known as Mrs. Axel Diensen, who both leave their respective spouses to run off together. When the abandoned spouses, Serena, the Marchioness of Heronden, and Axel Diensen, a railway magnate, join forces to get their spouses back, they find that they are more drawn to each other than to the partners who had abandoned them.
Quadrille was first performed at the Opera House, Manchester, on 15 July 1952, and then in London at the Phoenix Theatre on 12 September 1952, in a production directed by Coward himself. At the time, the Evening Standard wrote: ‘Miss Fontanne plays the madcap Marchioness with the crackle and sheen of a five-pound note. Her eyes mock marvellously, her voice cuts like a knife into a wedding cake, and the scene in Act Three, on the eve of her elopement with Mr. Lunt, is as delicious as crushed ice.’