A Shiny Life For Me!

a personal review blog by Bianca

Dixon And Daughters

Dixon And Daughters
27 April 2023
National Theatre
4.0 out of 5.0 stars

Another very heavy play to watch, Dixon and Daughters deals with domestic abuse, sexual assault of children, and how years of silence and complacency ripples its consequences through a family at its limits.

The beautifully designed set reveals a house, cut open so we can see into all the rooms. Kitchen and lounge downstairs, two bedrooms upstairs. It is kept simple and common looking, this house could be any family’s home.

As Mary returns from a stint in prison, her two daughters, and one granddaughter, try to talk to her about what led to her imprisonment, but Mary is reluctant to give an inch. While signs of domestic abuse and alcoholism are strewn in, the tone stays somewhat comical, though a shadow looms over every scene. The characters bicker and conspire, while clearly caring for each other and wanting to help. The tone teeters between domestic comedy and gothic spine-chiller, with much left unsaid in this dysfunctional family.

While there are uncomfortable and heartbreaking moments, there’s also an amount of levity in the first act that is aided by quips and quirks from the characters. However, the last few minutes of the play reveal the horrifying truth of what lies beneath this family’s trauma, revealed in a chilling, numbing fashion.

Examining the complacency and complicity of a woman staying silent in the face of horrific abuse of her children, while being a victim of violence and coercive control herself, is interwoven with the effects this has on growing children, on the cycle of abuse they face through their own relationships.

A tragically real story, presented in a careful, loving way, Dixon and Daughters is not easy watching, but a pivotal piece looking at the lives of everyday women and the choices they face.

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