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Coward Plays 1: Hay Fever, The Vortex, Fallen Angels, Easy Virtue

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  57 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
This first volume in the Coward Collection contains four plays written within a two year period when Coward and the century were still in their 20s. The volume is introduced by Sheridan Morley, Coward's first biographer.

"Hay Fever," a comedy of bad manners, concerns a weekend with friends of the Bliss family, who have all been invited independently for a weekend at their c
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 6th 1979 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
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Keith Jones
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Both Hay Fever and Fallen Angels are really funny. The main thing I remember about The Vortex is that it was kind of heavy handed, and I don't remember anything about Easy Virtue.
Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of P.G. Wodehouse, Edwardian drama, and Stephen Colbert
Noel Coward rocks, what-what. I say! Positively ripping, every bit as uproarious as P.G. Wodehouse, and yet a tad more substantive, hey-ho.

I took this book with me on a vacation cruise trusting to the assumption that Noel Coward and Cole Porter were identical twins separated at conception by the Atlantic Ocean, and of course knowing that aboard ship, Anything Goes. Also, it helped tremendously that my copy was but a small, lightweight paperback. Coward did not disappoint; I am here to tell you t
Truly a hoot. Hilarity ensues as you open the cover. The pages flit by like ruffling cards, that's how light, and easy, and fun the read is. Thoroughly instructive as to British and European sensibility and humor in the 1930s. No, its not 'dated' at all. Blast your eyes! If you use the obtuse term 'dated' for a work like this---all I can say is that you reveal yourself to be an unutterable ninny and I shall never look at you again as long as I live.

The student of history can gain realms from the
Jul 30, 2015 rated it liked it
I was surprised to learn that Hay Fever is the most popular, as it's insubstantial and has minimal plot. However the characters in all the plays are very well observed, especially for someone in his early twenties. Most of the plays wouldn't suffer from an edit. I agree with the introduction that the first and third acts of Fallen Angels feel tacked on just to make a complete play, as the second act is good but the first act is deathly dull and the third act is muddled, confusing and a let-down. ...more
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Ahhh brilliant.

Hay Fever: Flawless satirical comedy about a crazy family and their poor guests. I laughed quite a lot.

The Vortex: Starts off as a comedy, but it gets serious-er and serious-er and the by the ending it’s quite shocking. Nicky = boyfriend.

Fallen Angels: Highly amusing, it’s basically a 2 woman show… Two woman waiting for an old lover they both had years ago. It’s a roller coaster of emotions, and you feel bad for them, and for the husbands, but you laugh too.

Easy Virtue: Highly enj
On the one hand, the conflict in these four plays all rests in the idea that any sex outside of marriage is wrong and inside of marriage is unlikely. So, in a modern world where everyone has a past and where people don't have to stayed married if they don't want to (except politicians), the conflict feels odd. The other hand points out that he writes beautiful and witty dialogue, and that the plays are hilarious regardless.

The Introduction was very helpful to me, as I knew nothing of Coward's pe
Patrick Neylan
Aug 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Coward's early plays display a biting wit - although the funniest jokes are in the character descriptions rather than the diaglogue - and a satirical savagery on 'modern' (i.e. 1920s) social mores. The theme is sexual and emotional repression, giving him the feel of an 'angry young man' three decades early.
Jul 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Finished Easy Virtue. Liked the movie better. There were definitely moments that were all Coward, but it felt almost cut short. Like someone had taken a Coward play and edited it. Perhaps that's why the movie is so different. This one doesn't even feel like a Coward play. But it was still fun and I'm glad I read it
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Nothing short of excellence, which is the case with anything by Coward. It's astonishing how young he was when writing these. And he writes so well for women too!
Jun 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, plays
This was for the BBC radio drama version of Easy Virtue. It's a Coward play, so it of course held charm and wit in spades.
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Sir Noël Peirce Coward was an English actor, playwright and composer of popular music. Among his achievements, he received an Academy Certificate of Merit at the 1943 Academy Awards for "outstanding production achievement for In Which We Serve."
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