Small businessman Ray Martin (Mike Preston) needs money not only to expand his toy business but for his estranged wife who runs a gallery in the house they once shared and who has installed a boyish sculptor along with some dubious artefacts; for his academically-inclined live-in companion in another house and her two sons; and for his own daughter who is pregnant and the youth who impregnated her.
The script by David Williamson takes care of all the interlocking emotional and commercial developments, moving swiftly in and out of the different houses, pads, board rooms, hotel lobbies, airports, coastal resorts and beds.
There are times when the action could be equated with a rather long television commercial, which is a tribute to its glossy competence.
A lot of the people are recognisably real, including badgered Ray Martin, though Mike Preston, who has such difficulty getting his words out, may not have been the most inspired casting.
There must be many crabby girlfriends like Barbara Dunstan (Wendy Hughes) cantankerously flinging off to bed while Ray dashes to the side of his estranged wife Margot (Diane Cilento) at the ring of a telephone.
Margot herself is desperately addicted to suburban glamour, in evening gowns which might appear somewhat glamorous for a gala night at the casino in Monte Carlo.
She has trouble getting the young sculptor out of the house when she catches him cheating but shows how decent she really is by keeping a vigil at the hospital bed of her daughter Caroline (Sigrid Thornton).
While these marital/extra-marital/paternal complications are taking place, a business predator from America, Al Geisman (Michael Pate) is keeping everybody in the toymaking industry on tenterhooks. On the face of it he simply wants Ray’s company to distribute his products in Australia but in reality, wants control and 51% of the profits.
Pate’s Geisman is well done, the bonhomie underlined with arrogance and egotism. Al was originally an Australian, as he keeps reminding everyone. He likes a bit of fun, too, and makes a clumsy pass at Ray’s secretary, Jacki (Clare Binney).
The people who emerge in the best condition from Duet For Four are Michael Pate, Sigrid Thornton, Arthur Dignam in a small role as Ray’s lawyer, and Rod Mullinar as Ray’s competitor.