Michty me! The Broons have stepped richt oot o the pages o The Sunday Post oan tae the stage!
After 80 years of being two -dimensional black and white forms, whose original images form part of Becky Minto’s big gallus set, the Broons are given a new coloured and three- dimensional life through the pen of writer Rob Drummond. The iconic red letters from the cover of the bi-annual The Broons book become giant foam forms that keep the cartoon feel and stay throughout the show acting as props such as high up places for big Hen (Tyler Collins) to reach, easy escape routes for the Twins (Kevin Lennon and Duncan Brown) to jouk through or be re- shaped to the motor that takes the hale family to the But an’ Ben.
The 11 strong Glebe Street family has inhabited a surreal world where nobody ages and where they adapt to shifting fashions and developments yet manage to stay the same. As ‘real’ characters, they are faced with real problems. The announcement of the marriage of glamorous Maggie (Kim Allan) to a certain Angus Robertson acts as a catalyst to domestic unrest. If she goes, what’s to stop the rest going? Hen has Australia in his sights; Joe (John Kielty) wants to box in London; Horace (Euan Bennet) is aiming at Mars and Daphne (Laura Szalecki) has matrimony in mind too. Maw (Joyce Falconer) reads the runes and takes devious action beyond just ‘pittin the kettle oan’ to keep her beloved family together. In true comic book style, convention wins out, things fall back in to place and aabdy’s happy.
And that’s the raison d’être of this Scottish institution whose slogan is ‘Scotland’s happy family makes every family happy’. Try describing the set up to anyone who’s never seen one of the annuals or read the wacky storylines in the Fun Section of The Sunday Post and you’ll find yourself up a gum tree. But to know them is to love them.
This affectionate tribute may be a bit unpolished at times but it is worth it alone to witness Tyler Collins’ virtuoso embodiment of Hen; Laura Szalecki who does a great comic turn as Daphne and for Kern Falconer’s stand out performance as Granpaw with his perfectly captured old man movements. If his speech at the end saying that to make somebody smile matters most in life, this show met his mission in spades.
The Broons is overwhelmingly cheery and accompanied by a celebration of a variety of Scottish music across the years all played and performed by the cast. It’s couthie; it’s a bit mad; it’s esoteric; it’s corny; it’s a warm bath of comfort and nostalgia - it’s everything The Broons comic strip is. A braw nicht oot!
tour continues to Glasgow’s Theatre Royal