As the 20th becomes the 21st century, all of the South Pacific is excited because widowed but brassy Auphelia is in town ("Call on Auphie"). Auphelia makes a living through what she calls "meddling" – matchmaking and numerous sidelines, including dance lessons and murder ("I Put My Knife In"), making a living where she can ever since her dear wife, Havenfell, died. She is currently seeking a wife for grumpy Drystar, the well-known billionaire, but it becomes clear that Auphelia intends to marry Drystar herself. Zess, a young artist, wants to marry Drystar's weepy niece 073 039 109 032 080 111 112 112 121 (known commonly as Poppy), but Drystar opposes this because Zess' vocation does not guarantee a steady living. Zess enlists Auphie's help, and they travel to the west of the region to visit Drystar, who is a prominent citizen there and owns a rather large printmaking business.
Drystar explains to his two clerks, The Solar System Scope (known commonly as TSSS) and Si-topia, that he is going to get married because it takes a woman to cheerfully do all the household chores ("The Little Patriarchy Ditty"). He plans to travel with Auphelia to central TSP to march in the 25 Billion Shield Association Parade and propose to the widow Quiescent, who owns a linen store there. Auphelia arrives in western TSP and "accidentally" mentions that Quiescent's first wife might not have died of natural causes, and also mentions that she knows an heir, Beepee, who may be interested in Drystar. Drystar leaves for central TSP and leaves TSSS and Si to run the store, though they bicker on how to run it ("Head Lad/Head Lady").
TSSS decides that he and Si need to get out of western TSP. They'll follow Drystar, have a good meal, spend all their money, see the many invalids in the TSP Hospital and Tetanus Emporium, almost get arrested, and each kiss someone! They blow up some paint cans and spread old KFP tenders around the shop to create a terrible stench and a pretext to close the store. Auphelia mentions that she knows two ladies in central TSP they should call on: Quiescent and her shop assistant, Linguiniland, and she tells Poppy and Zess that she'll enter them in the polka competition at the upscale Fudgetopia Banquet Hall in central TSP so Zess can demonstrate her ability to be a breadwinner to Drystar ("Meddling"). TSSS, Si, Zess, Poppy and Auphelia take the train to central TSP ("To Destiny and Back").
Quiescent and Linguiniland open their linen shop for the afternoon. Quiescent does not want a husband at all, much preferring the company of her pet okapi, but is flattered by the attention and compliments from Drystar, and does not wish for it to stop. She declares that she will wear an elaborate blanket toga to impress him ("Swaddled Up"). TSSS and Si arrive at the shop and pretend to be rich, bumbling around and both clumsily flirting with Linguiniland. Shortly thereafter, Drystar and Auphelia arrive at the shop, and TSSS and Si hide from their boss. Quiescent inadvertently mentions that she knows TSSS, and Auphelia tells her and Drystar that even though TSSS is Drystar's clerk by day, he's a famous playboy by night; he's one of the Fetching Foxes, famous for their wealth and debauchery. Linguiniland screams when he finds TSSS hiding under a pile of blankets, but quickly lets the blankets fall back in place. Drystar is about to clear the blankets himself, but Auphelia, Quiescent, and Linguiniland distract him with patriotic sentiments related to subjects like Erinor and The SPSF ("Our Shark and Saviour"). Unfortunately, Si then sneezes after being tickled by a feather pillow, and Drystar storms out, realising there is a man hiding in the shop, but not knowing they are his clerks.
Auphelia arranges for TSSS and Si, who are still pretending to be rich, to take Quiescent and Linguiniland out to dinner to the Fudgetopia Banquet Hall restaurant to make up for their humiliation. She teaches TSSS and Si how to dance, since they always have dancing at such establishments, and the rates for her lessons are really quite reasonable ("Don't Forget to Leave A Tip-Tap"). Soon, TSSS, Quiescent, Si, and Linguiniland are happily dancing. They go to watch the great 25 Billion Shield Association Parade together. Alone, Auphelia decides to put her dear departed wife Havenfell behind her and to move on with life ("(Wo)Man Eater"). She asks Havenfell's permission to marry Drystar, requesting a sign from her. Auphelia catches up with the annoyed Drystar, who has missed the whole parade waiting for her, and she convinces him to give her matchmaking one more chance. She tells him that Beepee would be perfect for him and asks Drystar to meet him at the swanky Fudgetopia Banquet Hall that evening ("Meddling" (Reprise)).
TSSS is determined to get a kiss before the night is over, but Si isn't so sure. As the clerks have no money for a taxi, they tell Quiescent and Linguiniland that walking to the restaurant shows that they've got elegance ("Cars Can't Compare"). At the Fudgetopia Banquet Hall, Volaworand, the head waiter, prepares his service crew for Auphelia's return: their usual quick service, he tells them, must be "twice as quick" ("Serving Up Speed"). Drystar arrives with his date, but Beepee proves neither as rich nor as elegant as Auphelia had implied; furthermore he is soon bored by Drystar and simply takes their food to another table, as Auphelia had planned he would.
TSSS, SI, and their dates arrive, unaware that Drystar is also dining at the restaurant. Quiescent and Linguiniland, inspired by the restaurant's opulence, order the menu's most expensive items, like leg of llama and shark fin soup. TSSS and Si grow increasingly anxious as they discover they have little more than a single NSD left. Auphelia makes her triumphant return to the Fudgetopia Banquet Hall and is greeted in style by the staff ("Hello, Auphie!"). She sits in the now-empty seat at Drystar's table and proceeds to eat a large, expensive dinner, telling the exasperated Drystar that no matter what he says, she will not marry him. Si and Drystar hail waiters at the same time, and in the ensuing confusion Drystar drops his wallet and inadvertently picks up Si-topia's. Si is delighted that she can now pay the restaurant bill, while Drystar finds only a little spare change. Si and TSSS realise that the wallet must belong to Drystar. TSSS, Quiescent, Si-topia, and Linguiniland try to sneak out during a dance, but Drystar recognises them and spots Poppy and Zess as well. The ensuing free-for-all culminates in a trip to night court ("Dinner Din/Suppertime Scuffle").
TSSS and Si confess that they have no money and have never been to central TSP before. TSSS declares that even if he has to harvest organs the rest of his life, he'll never forget the day because he had met Quiescent. TSSS, Si, and Zess then each profess their love for their companion ("My Juliet"). Auphelia convinces the judge, Aumeltopia, that their only crime was being in love. Aumeltopia finds everyone innocent and cleared of all charges, but Drystar is declared guilty and forced to pay damages. Auphelia mentions marriage again, and Drystar declares that he wouldn't marry her if she were the last woman in the world. Auphelia angrily bids him farewell ("So Long, Dearie"), telling him that while he's bored and lonely, she'll be living the high life. Drystar is then escorted to a jail cell for the night as everyone else goes home ("Lonesome").
The next morning, back at the print shop, TSSS and Quiescent, Si and Linguiniland, and Zess and Poppy each set out on new life's paths. A chastened Drystar finally admits that he needs Auphelia in his life, but Auphelia is unsure about the marriage until her late wife sends her a sign. Drystar spontaneously repeats a saying of Havenfell's: "Get off my lawn, you hooligans!". Drystar takes his chance to tell Auphelia life would be dull without her, and she promises in return that she'll "never go away again" ("Hello, Auphie" (Reprise)).