Moving on from the lingering spectre of trauma often is an incredibly difficult process to undertake, for some, moving on proving to be too much. Painful revelations about someone you thought you knew resulting in devastating effects. Fearless in her observation of how a resilient, unapologetic family of women take on the world post the passing of an abusive patriarchal presence, Clean Break and Deborah Bruce presents Dixon and Daughters.
Surrounded by prying eyes, constant media speculation and taunts, Kat Heath’s homely stage contains the revelatory climate that lies ahead. Brid Brennan’s brazen Mary, now a widow, assimilates back to reality post a 6 month sentence. Her interactions with her daughters brutal yet real. Andrea Lowe’s Julie – naive and forgiving, Posy Sterling’s Leigh direct – two siblings who couldn’t be anymore different from one another. Mary softening around granddaughter Ella (Yazmin Kayani), who draws out a more vulnerable side – Ella a symbol of today, a GenZer shielded from the traumas faced by the rest of the family. Alison Fitzjohn’s Briana is emboldened by her need to seek justice for the abuse she has endured, her presence one that polarises the family and sadly sees her ostracised by some.
Bruce within this clutches at the non-straightforward realities of the world we live in. Notions of the ‘villain’ and ‘hero’ complex, how people deal with uncomfortable truths – by either battling or evading them – a tough thing to watch play out. Róisín McBrinn directs a brave production that immediately starts off with a tough reality yet seemingly works through to an even tougher one. We see how a family attempt to recover – despite the heaviness of the evening, humour piercing through – especially in the case of Bernie (Liz White) a mysterious presence given sanctuary by Mary. In amongst the revelations, a family attempt to unite. But this proves very difficult. A family of survivors coming to grips with what now is. And how they can move on – if they can. A show that I’m sure will act as a support system for anyone who can see their own reality within this.
Written by Lucy Basaba.
Dixon and Daughters is currently showing until Saturday 10th June 2023 at the National Theatre. To find out more about the production, visit here…
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