It's about a guy, Tom Collier, who has been living with a woman, Daisy Sage, without the benefit of marriage, as friends, having been lovers but now cooled. This is in 1920-something so it is very unconventional. When the play opens Daisy has been away in Paris drawing fashion for a magazine. While she was away Tom has met Cecelia and they have become engaged. Tom and Daisy are basically bohemians. Tom comes from an absurdly wealthy family. His father has been trying to get Tom to settle into some kind of stable career. Tom's most consistent job has been as owner of a small independent press that publishes fancy books. In the first scene Tom's father, Rufus, and his good friend, a lawyer named Owen have arrived at Tom's house to get some big news from Tom. Cecelia or "C" is there as well. We are also introduced to Tom's "butler", a former boxer named Red whom tom keeps on because he likes him. Red is a terrible butler. Tom arrives late and offends his father, The meeting was for Tom to inform them of his engagement, Tom receives a telegram from daisy saying she is back in NYC. He leaves to tells Daisy that he is engaged. Daisy is disappointed but supportive.
Under "C"'s influence Tom changes. He begins to publish cheap bad books that make money. He tries to fire Red at "C"'s insistence, Red beats him to the punch though by quitting. He is supposed to go to the symphonic debut of a mutual former friend of Daisy and his but sends his regards by telegram instead after being seduced by "C" into staying to have sex with her. Time passes things get worse for Tom. he is estranged from his old friend's. He sees Daisy again and she realizing that she is truly in love Tom runs away to without telling tom where she is. Tom has a birthday party and "C" invites his old friends. Tom is about to produce a weekly magazine with his small press. Tom is becoming successful while losing his integrity and sense of self. His friends including Daisy leave the party early. Rufus gives Tom and absurdly large check which Tom is reluctant to accept. "C" thinks he should.They argue about that, Tom realizes that he is only attracted to "C" because of her sex appeal. She has refused him sex because he hasn't been doing things that way she wants. He leaves her the check for her after signing it over to her and goes back to Daisy.
I liked this play. It has nice, breezy, well structured dialogue and nice ending. Tom is a good character that one likes and wishes the best for. Daisy is also a great character too and one really wants them to be together. Red is an awesome character. He's a former boxer who is down to earth and funny in his drunk scene. He also has that street smart ability to see what is going on to Tom before Tom does. There is a great moment towards the end, the set up to Tom's leaving the money for "C". He stars drinking as the two of them are getting on each others nerves and reminisces about a brothel he went to in England when he was young. One left one's money on the mantle for the woman you spent time with and that is where he leaves the check for "C". The moment when his understanding of his relationship to "C" happens just little bit after that and it is beautifully written.
I liked this play. it is not as good as Barry's others but it has a germ of truth and a subtle conflict inside it. It is billed as a comedy, but it is only ruefully funny in a harsh and bitter way that is belies that classification.