Dixon and Daughters, a powerful new play by Deborah Bruce, has finally made its way to the stage at the National Theatre following a Covid-related delay.
It’s an interesting, if at times difficult and unsettling, watch; while occasionally veering in the direction of comedy or drama, this is very much a story about domestic abuse, alongside trauma and grief.
We’re introduced to matriarch figure Mary (Brid Brennan), who has returned from prison after she seemingly lied in court to protect her now-deceased husband.
Two days in this family’s lives are condensed into 90 minutes (no interval). Alongside Mary we meet Julie (Andrea Lowe), a recovering alcoholic and domestic abuse victim; Bernie (Liz White) is the ‘sensible’, diplomatic one, trying her best to mediate and keep the family home functioning; stepdaughter Briana (Alison Fitzjohn) who is no longer welcome having testified against Mary in court; and granddaughter Ella (Yazmin Kayani), who seems to have escaped the troubled family to attend university in Leeds, although she’s back home for reading week.