This could be the year Scotland’s first family take over the world (again). The Broons are coming to the stage and not content with a couple of cookery books to her name, Maw Broon gets a kitchen cafe in Dundee next year.
Tomorrow night sees the curtain lift on a play based on the misadventures of a comic family who stick together though thick and thin with a reassuring dollop of self-depreciation. Playwright Bob Drummond has distilled 80 years of comic strip hi-jinks from The Sunday Post for the show’s opening at Perth Concert Hall. It runs until October 1st and then tours Scotland until November 12th.
Time was The Sunday Post could claim one of the biggest circulations in the world. Popular in Scotland and the north of England, orders from ex-pat Scots boosted sales in a way that made it look like everyone in the country was a reader. It has two mainstay comic strips, The Broons and Oor Wullie, both created by writer/editor R.D.Low and legendary artist Dudley D. Watkins. The look and tone they devised for both strips persists to this day.
Every two years, a collection of Broons strips becomes a Christmas treat and the line has expanded with nostalgic hardbacks themed around decades or historic landmarks. Each page has some misunderstanding which will end either in embarrassment or redemption for one member of a multi-generational cast.
And then there is Maw Broon’s Cookbook, a marvelous item that breaks the fourth wall and cracks the culinary secrets of Glebe Street. Subtitled The Broon’s Cookbook for Every Day and Special Days, it is a facsimile of the notes and snippets of kitchen wisdom that would be accumulated or “torn from a packet of flour” by every self-respecting Scottish matriarch. Never mind Bake Off, this is the real deal.
This collection of culinary common-sense has spawned a range of kitchenware, cakes and shortbread, and next year spills into a Dundee cafe which is hoped to be the first in a chain.
All they need now is a tv show ...