Alfie, a Dublin bus conductor in 1962, lives with his sister Lily and feels a close affinity with Oscar Wilde. He works the bus route with his young friend Robbie and enchants his passengers by reciting poetry to them. He is inspired to stage Wilde's Salome when a young country girl steps aboard his bus one day.
The cast, consisting of his bus passengers, may lack finesse, or even talent, but Alfie is an indulgent, big-hearted director and slowly the players begin to enter into the spirit of the drama.
Despite opposition, Alfie continues with rehearsals and what follows is a comical and endearing series of events as Alfie learns about life and himself. He follows Wilde in his aspiration to "produce only one beautiful work of art in order to rob malice of its sneer and pluck out the tongue of scorn by its root."