Imagine, if you will, a pantomime version of the Beggars Opera, featuring Jonathan Wild, magistrate, crook and chief of the Bow Legged Runners. We find him first of all taking Mr Cuff and Mr Bookem, two of his Runners, to task for failing to arrest anyone even on a trumped up charge. Then he moves on to encourage his gang to relieve the crowd of their valuables. We are introduced to Chief Justice Milksop and his domineering wife; Milksop is relieved of his wallet by Moll, one of Wild's gang, but she is seen by Jack, Dick's servant. When milksop realises his loss he berates Wild for the level of crime in the streets, just as Dick arrives with Jenny, Milksop's daughter, only to be accused of being the mastermind behind all the crimes. Jenny defends him, while we are treated to Mrs Milksop's rather right wing views.
We move on to Wild's office, where a plot is laid to burgle Milksop's house and to frame Dick for the crime. The crime is committed and sure enough Dick gets the blame; Dick and Jenny are having a quiet tete-a-tete, interrupted only by Bess, Dick's trusty steed, when Dick is arrested by Cuff and Bookem and dragged off by the mob. Cuff and Bookem also try to catch Bess, but find this rather more difficult than they expected. Dick appears in court before Wild and is duly framed and thrown into jail.
A plan is hatched by Jack, Jenny and moll to dupe Cuff and Bookem and to free Dick. The plan works, Dick escapes and Cuff and Bookem feel the rough end of Wild's tongue. Meanwhile Dick convinces Wild that he has fled London, leaving the coast clear for Wild and tempting him into sending Cuff and Bookem back to Milksop's house to steal any remaining valuables. Sure enough, Wild is tempted; he and his gang are caught red handed. Justice is finally done, Dick's name is cleared and all ends happily.
Twelve principles, cameo speaking parts and a chorus of street traders, citizens and tavern drinkers.
Nine scenes, with four main settings, augmented with other items of scenery to create the necessary effects.