Written by Caryl Churchill, Top Girls made its debut performance in 1982. Performed by AS Level Drama students the current production has been reinterpreted and brought up to speed. Directed by Oakley Flanagan the play jumps between 1980 and 2015, observing the Tory rule and examining the role of women in society. It is a surreal piece, with a dreamlike sequence in Act 1 introducing the audience to a number of famous and influential women that the history books forgot. It is the stories of these women that run parallel to the characters in the earlier era, where we follow the driven and successful Marlene, a natural survivor in a man's world and a champion of Thatcher's government.
The cast of 10 young women show an abundance of potential, many at the start of their professional training. Eliza Bunce shines as Marlene, the power dressing Business Woman who appears to have it all, though the shocking truth of her reality is later revealed to the audience. Megan Gellatly provides nervous humour as Marlene's niece, Angie. A disturbed and angry child who dreams of killing. A highlight of the dinner party scene is the tale of Lady Nijo (played by Sophie Pheasey); decoratively dressed in oriental costume she recalls the circumstances that determined her existence over 700 years ago.
Though ambiguous at times, the production is thought provoking, intentionally leaving questions unanswered and providing no real finale, allowing audience members to draw conclusions from their own experience of the show. The effective use of projection and audio clips from political archives help to set the scene, providing reality and transporting the audience back to an iconic time, a time of great change that would provide the Conservatives with their legacy.
Exploring politics, feminism, class barriers, and family ties, Top Girls is an explosive production, pensive and profound.
The show ran at the mac for one night only. For more information on the show click here.
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