The interior of Schlick's cafe in Bitter Sweet

The interior of Schlick's cafe in Bitter Sweet

The operetta Bitter Sweet was a huge responsibility for Coward, as for the first time he was in complete control of a show, as writer, composer, lyricist and director. It was unashamedly nostalgic, but Coward was reflecting a change in public taste, as the brittle, sophisticated 1920s gave way to the more sober, nostalgic 1930s. London critics gave it a lukewarm reception, predicting that it would only run three months but Coward had judged the public mood perfectly. It ran for 18 months in London and transferred to Broadway. The story is told in flashback. Lady Shayne recalls her elopement with Carl, her music teacher the night before her wedding and their life together in Vienna before he is tragically killed in a duel with Captain Lutte, seen seated in this photograph. The hit song was 'I’ll See You Again'. The song 'If Love Were All', included a phrase which came to haunt Coward. ‘All I have is just, a talent to amuse’ became a cliché used by every journalist ever after to describe his talents.