Elyot and his second wife, Sibyl, have arrived in the South of France on their honeymoon. Little known to either, Elyot’s divorcee, Amanda, is staying in the next-door apartment on honeymoon with her second husband, Victor. Elyot and Amanda meet and rekindle their former tempestuous relationship and in a moment of passion decide to re-elope together and head for Paris. Act I ends with Victor and Sibyl sharing a cocktail on the balcony, unaware that their respective spouses have got back together and abandoned them.
Act II is in Amanda’s Paris flat – we see Elyot and Amanda at first utterly smitten and then gradually at each other’s throats more and more. It’s all brilliantly funny in a Cowardesque kind of way – Elyot even plays the piano a la Coward at one point. Act II closes with Sibyl and Victor bursting into the apartment to see Amanda and Elyot hitting each other with pillows and shouting abuse at the tops of their voices.
Act III opens with a comic set-piece for the maid, Louise. Victor wants some answers from Amanda – Sibyl wants to get back together with Elyot. Eventually it’s agreed that Victor and Elyot will postpone divorcing Amanda and Sibyl respectively, in order to reduce the scandalousness of it all. The cast sit down to tea. The bickering recommences and at the close the roles are reversed with Sibyl and Victor at each other’s throats and Elyot and Amanda once again sneeking off together. Coward seems to suggest that the only possible relationaship between a man and a woman is one of continuous disagreement and acrimony!