Through the story of a single family, Brassneck traces a history that parallels the Labour Party's advent to power in 1945 through to the property speculation of the 1960s and the disillusionment with the Labour government in the early 1970s. Like most of the early work of the writers, David Hare and Howard Brenton, committed radical (if not revolutionary) socialists throughout the 1970s, it is a satirical attack on capitalist greed and corruption, full of savage, and often disturbing, humour.
A newly arrived governor finds his province under the control of the corrupt Colonel Huerta. To avoid assassination by Huerta, he pretends to be weak and indecisive so Huerta will believe he poses no threat.
During World War I, a German U-boat sinks a British ship and takes the survivors on board. After it takes a wrong turn, the submarine takes them to the unknown land of Caprona, where they find dinosaurs and neanderthals.
There is a war in the world between the men and the women. A young girl tries to escape this reality and comes to a hidden place where a strange unicorn lives with a family: Sister, Brother, many children and an old woman that never leaves her bed but stays in contact with the world through her radio.