The play explores issues around the generation gap, a widely discussed subject at the time, resulting from the emergence of youth subcultures and the birth of ‘the teenager’ in 1950s Britain.
Mr. Curry and Sadie represent the conformist and compliant older generation, while Lucille and Phil symbolise youthful optimism.
We hear Curry complain that
things were a damned sight different in my day and that the youth of today are
too well off.
He is dismissed by the Slab Boys, who have little interest in meeting Curry’s high standards. The conflict reaches a climax when Curry questions whether the sacrifices of his generation in World War 2 are wasted on the youth of the 1950s:
Is this what Wingate gave up his last gasp for? So that louts like you could get yourselves a cushy little number?
Phil fights back, putting an end to the argument by accusing Curry of lying:
Jimmy Robertson blew the gaff. The only thing you’ve ever hacked your way through is battalion payslips
This accusation undermines Mr. Curry’s authority for the final time and suggests that a harmonious bridge across a generation gap cannot be found.
Sadie is keen to impart her wisdom onto a youthful Lucille, telling her
You’ll learn flower… you’re young yet. Lucille is unperturbed by Sadie’s warning and seem blissfully unaware that one day, she too will get old:
Who wants to get to your age?
Lucille cannot put herself in Sadie's position any more than Sadie can appreciate how attitudes and prospects have changed life for young women like Lucille.