If this was just the first Act then I would really love it, because that first scene is great, but the rest of the play felt very dated. I realise that overall Top Girls is beautifully structured, and the doubling is intriguing. However, I felt the play now lacks elements of freshness and surprise. The play is set in the eighties and explores ambition. The first scene introduces to a range of historical characters who tell us their stories. This includes Pope Joan talking about how she gave beth to a baby in the street and Izabella Bird who talks about her life as a traveller. The scene is beautifully choreographed and some of the most entertaining moments are when the characters talk over each other. Top Girls is really Marlene’s story (Caroline Catz). She’s an ambitious business woman, a daughter of Thatcherism. The play shows her to be rather callous giving up her daughter to pursue her career.
There is a twist at the end if the play, but the problem for me was that I could see it coming.
Previews and Reviews
Review: Top Girls, Out Of Joint/Chichester Festival Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, until March 10 (From York Press)