When she was only one, Princess Ida, the daughter of King Gama (pronounced 'Garma'), was betrothed to Hilarion, son of King Hildebrand. As the curtain opens King H., and his followers are awaiting the arrival of King Gama. Will he bring Ida with him? No, but when he appears, after singing his introductory patter song, he tells them that Ida has foresworn the world, and especially men, and shut herself up with a band of women in a lonely country house ('Castle Adamant') devoting themselves to study.

Gama brings with him his three sons, Arac, Guron, and Scynthius - big (around 6 ft nineteen without shoes), strong, and stupid. This is not on, says Hilarion. He calls upon his friends Cyril and Florian to outline their plan to get to Ida, and King H. tells King Gama that he can remain here as hostage, sending him and his three sons to a prison cell. They will be able to go when Hilarion and Ida return. End of Act One.

Act two is set in the gardens of Castle Adamant. The girl's chorus is sitting at the feet of Lady Psyche, professor of humanities. She advises them on the classics they should read, and on being pressed by Sacharissa, she explains the nature of the creature known as man. There is a lady Blanche, the professor of Abstract Science. She is the forbidding contralto in this opera. Ida also makes her appearance, and treats them to a discourse on the superiority of women. They all go off leaving the stage bare for Hilarion, Cyril and Florian to appear, climbing over the wall and creeping cautiously around. They mock the learning ambitions of the girls, and, finding some collegiate robes put them on as a disguise. Here are two trios that can be really good. They are accepted into the university by Ida and they all go for lunch. Unfortunately, Cyril drinks too much and reveals himself as a man.

In the ensuing confusion, Ida runs off over a bridge in the garden, and falls over into the water, and our hero Hilarion rescues her. Despite this, Ida has the 3 men arrested and imprisoned. No sooner than this has happened, than in comes King H's army batters its way in. He points out the betrothal arrangement, but the Princess wants none of it. End of Act two.

Act Three opens with the girls on the battlements prepared to defend the Castle, although none, apart from Ida, too keen on the idea. Enter King Gama, who suggests that a way out is for his three sons to fight Hilarion and his friends. Hilarion wins of course. As a result of it being pointed out that with segregation of women, where would posterity come from, Ida relinquishes her women's university and all ends happily.

No men's chorus in Act two until the Finale. Could be a goer - what with women's lib., and feminism.

All the dialogue in blank verse, so forgetting lines might be noticeable! However, we would need two tenors, Hilarion and Cyril, and quite a lot of other small men's parts. That alone could rule this one out, although find the two tenors first, and the rest would be easy. Acts two and three could make do with the same set. Costume change for all (I think) between Act 1 and the rest of the opera. What is more, I have an overture to this that could be better than the 'original' - Sullivan didn't write that either. I wrote it for the projected 1981 show before we had to change it to 'Patience'. Three acts shouldn't add to the expense. The show does not run for any longer because of the three acts. We can still get to a drink before closing time!

The 2004 production saw MUGSS move away from the Renold theatre, our home since 1964 when it first opened, and into the Dancehouse Theatre on Oxford Road. It also had a new overture (written by yours truly) which also was heard at the two Xmas G&S Concerts in Birmingham and Manchester at the end of 2004.