Once a respectable classical theatre actor, Stanley is now struggling with bouts of stage fright in a Murder Mystery on a pier in Southend on Sea. Having been fired after his last disastrous Sunday matinee, he is visited by Shelley Kline, an ex-girlfriend who hopes to rescue him from his desperate straights and offers him a job with her. Now a successful theatre director and unaware of his problems with drink, she wants him to play Gloucester in an upcoming production of King Lear at the Apollo Rep, a prestigious west end theatre. One of the problems, however, is that Rod C. Tanner, an old friend and rival for Shelley's affections, is playing the king himself. Complicating things further is Rod's TV star status and Stan's resentment and feelings of inadequacy.