A diffident North Country widower attempts to escape from his loneliness by joining the local amateur light operatic society. By accident, rather than design (in fact, by not saying ?no? to anything be it a request to obtain confidential information from his company or an offer of illicit sex) he advances from a one-line part to the lead.
As the play progresses the author skilfully draws parallels between John Gay?s The Beggar?s Opera and the day to day activities of the Society who are performing it. Ayckbourn goes on showing how painfully embarrassed are the British in the face of emotion and keeps us laughing in happy recognition.