Theatre review: Broth (3 stars)

Theatre review: Broth

The cyclical nature of domestic violence is reflected in Tim Primrose's profane kitchen poetry

Somewhere between a dark comedy of family manners, and a surreal meditation on domestic violence, Broth begins with a shocking discovery. While Mary (Kay Gallie) is boiling her 'disgustin' smellin' wee chookie broth', patriarchal bully Jimmy (Ron Donachie) is face down on the kitchen table covered in blood.

Not the proverbial elephant in the room, more an ogre, Jimmy has been whacked across the skull with a kettle by birdlike Mary, who has tired of his ugly, drunken outbursts. Only she doesn't remember doing it, and acts as if everything is business as usual.

Enter Patch (Vincent Friell), fellow pisshead and Jimmy's best friend, to add twisted bonhomie as the women realise taking stock is imperative. It's funny, horrifying and true in its refusal to victimise two generations of suffering women.

Molly Innes as Jimmy's daughter gives the most brilliant performance, her gibbering hysteria settling down into resigned apathy, and Gallie is equal parts lucid and heartbreaking as the senile woman pushed to the edge. After all, you can't make a decent broth without breaking a few bones.


Broth tells the story of the older generation of Scotland through the traditions, recipes and rituals involved in making soup.