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A Romantic Comedy with Music in 3 Acts, 15 Scenes. Book, music and lyrics by Noel Coward.

His Majesty's Theatre, London - 16 February, 1934 (177 perfs)
44th Street Theatre, Broadway - 23rd October - 8th December, 1934 (55 perfs)


The play is set amidst the brittle sophistications of Regency Brighton, 1811.

Paul, Duc de Chaucigny-Varennes, has arrived in Brighton as a landless emigré from the terrors of the French Revolution. With him is Melanie, a beautiful young girl he passes off as his ward, and the daughter of a murdered friend, the Marquis de Tramont; although we learn early on that she is a dance hall singer.

Their purpose is to marry Melanie to a rich husband and she quickly attracts the attention of Edward, the young Marquis of Sheere, who asks for her hand.

With the help of Lady Julia Charteris, who secretly loves Paul, Edward presses his claims, only to discover that Melanie herself has also all along secretly loved Paul. Lady Julia proposes marriage to Paul and with it the comforts of her fortune.

Melanie, desperate to win him for herself, declares her love but only succeeds in plunging him into consternation. In the hope that she can shock him into understanding how close they have become, Melanie feigns a departure for France, leaving no forwarding address. cp=p

The ploy works and they at last come together.

Musical Numbers

  1. The Parade
  2. "I'll Follow My Secret Heart" - Melanie
  3. "Regency Rakes" - Mr. Hailsham,Lord Doyning, Lord Braceworth
  4. "Charming, Charming" - Melanie, Rose, Sophie, Martha
  5. "Dear Little Soldiers' - Melanie, Rose, Sophie, Martha
  6. "There's Always Something Fishy About the French" - Sophie, Martha
  7. "Regency Rakes" (reprise) - Mr. Hailsham,Lord Doyning, Lord Braceworth
  8. "English Lesson" - Melanie
  9. "I'll Follow My Secret Heart" (reprise) - Melanie
  10. "There Was Once a Little Village By the Sea" - Fishermen
  11. Finale (Act 2) - Melanie, Ensemble
  12. "Nevermore" - Melanie


  • Sophie Otford
  • Martha James
  • Mrs. Dragon
  • Paul, Duc de Chaucigny-Varennes
  • Melanie - his protegée
  • Rose - Melanie's maid
  • Edward, The Marquis of Sheere - Melanie's suitor
  • The Earl of Harringford
  • Regency Rakes (3): Lord Braceworth: Lord Doyning: Mr. Hailsham:
  • The Duchess of Beneden - Edward's mother
  • The Duke of Beneden - Edward's father
  • Lady Julia Charteris - Paul's friend
  • Hannah, her maid
  • A Tiger
  • Miss Goslett
  • Miss Mention
  • Lord Kenyon
  • Lord St. Malys
  • Countess Harringford
  • Lady Braceworth
  • Mrs. Hailsham
  • Hon. Julian Kane
  • Lord Mosscrock
  • Mr. Amos
  • Butler
  • Mr. Jones
  • Courtesan 
    Fishermen, Soldiers, Guests: Milliners, Ladies of the Town, Visitors:

Scenes and settings

Acts 1

Act 2

Act 3