The rats of Hamelin are bored; we find them clustered around Ratsbane, their leader, trying to think of something to amuse themselves. Instead of living in their underworld, they decide to take over the town by sheer force of numbers. Meanwhile Mayor Kettle is congratulating himself on the town's prosperity in front of his daughter Lydia, Betty Butter and her son Roland. The rats rush in and strip the citizens of their food and anything else portable; the citizens turn on the Mayor, urging him to take action. He summons the town ratcatchers, Talk and mutter, who only succeed in getting themselves attacked by the rats.
The mayor decides that a champion is needed to solve the rat problem, offering a prize of one thousand crowns and his daughter's hand in marriage to the successful applicant. The Pied Piper hears of this, but instead of saving the town he conspires with the rats to fake their removal and to split the reward. Roland, who is in love with Lydia, hears that the Piper may win her and resolves that he and Bruiser, his cat, will also try to remove the rats and win the prize.
A contest is held to decide who will be the champion; while several who will make the attempt are chosen, the Piper is not selected; he leaves, swearing that the citizens will rue the day. The various contenders try their luck, but all attempts end in failure. The Mayor realises that his only hope is the Piper, but now the Piper's fee has risen dramatically. The Mayor is forced to agree to the new terms but Roland is suspicious and follows the Piper to the rats' lair, together with Talk, mutter and Bruiser. They overhear the Piper and the rats plotting, but all except Bruiser are captured.
The Piper and the rats carry out their fake withdrawal, but while this is happening Bruiser releases the captives who go to confront the Piper. He meanwhile has come to claim his money; when the Mayor refuses to pay, the Piper steals away the children of the town in revenge, returning with the rats to press his claim in return for the children. The Mayor capitulates and is about to pay when Roland and the others return to tell their story. The Piper and the rats are defeated by Roland's cleverness and Bruiser's new found courage. Roland wins the prize and Lydia and all ends well.
Nine principles, seven cameo speaking parts, plus a chorus of rats, birds and citizens.
Twelve scenes, with three main settings augmented with other items of scenery to create the necessary effects.