Archie Rice is a troubled music hall performer and the head of a dysfunctional family. He performs twice nightly in a revue that relies heavily upon its nude tableaus to bring in the punters. The traditional music hall is dying out and Archie’s world is crumbling with it. Set against the backdrop of the Suez Crisis, the decline of the music hall becomes a metaphor for the decline of Britain as a world power. Osborne alternates fraught and drink-fuelled domestic scenes of the Rice family with Archie’s “turns” on stage, consisting of coarse comic patter and sexist gags.