Tim Primrose’s Broth brings the Traverse’s current lunchtime season to a close, and almost takes us back to where we started, with three generations of women attempting to deal with a family problem in their own way.
But where the problem they faced in Leviathan was the darkness of depression, the problem here is the more tangible one of grandad being face down in a pool of blood on the kitchen table.
Grandpa Jimmy (the ever-excellent Ron Donachie) is presumed dead, much to the dismay of daughter Sheena (Molly Innes) and granddaughter Ally (Kirsty MacKay) who arrive at the scene to find granny Mary apparently unconcerned, or perhaps oblivious, to the situation. Her only interest being the chicken stock for the soup she’s making. Since the kettle is covered in blood, it doesn’t take long for the younger women to realise what has happened.
From here on in, their attempts to resolve the situation without getting Mary arrested makes for some very funny moments indeed. When it transpires that grandpa isn’t (quite) dead, Donachie arises and dominates the stage in the manner that grandpa Jimmy had dominated his family. A drunkard and a violent bully both outside and in his house, Mary could take no more.
The cast make the most of the script, although a cameo role for Vincent Friell as Jimmy’s friend Patch adds little, when it could have shed a little more light on Jimmy’s character. While the audience get the point that he was a deeply unpleasant man, you get little in the way of detail.
This vagueness in the script, along with the changes in tone, leaves you somewhat unsatisfied at the end. While it may go to pointing out Jimmy’s extreme mood swings – effortlessly and believably portrayed by Donachie – it does not allow the sympathy for Mary and her family that is necessary to the plot.
A pity that the Play, Pie and a Pint season has ended on, perhaps, a slightly weaker note. Not that this is by any means a poor effort, but suffers when compared to Leviathan and Take the Rubbish Out, Sasha.
(And you’re right, Carla, I will miss my lunchtime pie!)