Top Girls by Caryl Churchill - review
Lyttleton, National Theatre

Words by: Nicole V Sylvester | Published: Friday, April 5, 2019 10:36 AM


Very well acted with a twist and turn thrown in amongst comedic moments

Top Girls is an all-female production written by Caryl Churchill and directed by Lyndsay Turner that follows the success story of Marlene, an ambitious working class country girl who escapes a tawdry life in the sticks and makes good in the big smoke. Rising to being appointed as MD of the London recruitment agency she works for, the opening scene shows her in the throes of hosting a dinner party in a restaurant celebrating her new promotion and the achievements of her ‘friends’. She has five female guests in all wearing period dress of very different times. Very soon it becomes chaotic with several conversations going on at once, everyone talking over each other and jumping from present day to 13th century! One theme was consistent throughout which was that of strong extraordinary women have forgone or given up their traditional role in some way in order to succeed and were now living with the consequences, but apparently without regret. These women were breaking the mould in some way doing unheard of, wonderful or outrageous things.


It’s very confusing from the get go – it was only until at least 10 minutes in that you realise that the characters are all… dead perhaps? In purgatory? And why? as punishment? What was it they had done that their souls were not at rest? Oh right…fight the establishment.


Extra Afridiziak points and big ups go to Liv Hill who plays ‘Angie’. Top Girls is her first professional theatre role and she smashed it, capturing the essence of ‘turbulent teen’ perfectly with just the right mix of humour and angst

On the plus side, the sets were picturesque and the scenes acted extremely well. Extra Afridiziak points and big ups go to Liv Hill who plays ‘Angie’. Top Girls is her first professional theatre role and she smashed it, capturing the essence of ‘turbulent teen’ perfectly with just the right mix of humour and angst. Without giving too much away (the obligatory twist) I have to say the ending, although nowhere near as chaotic as the beginning was just as confusing. It left you wanting. Surely there was another scene to come? When the cast trooped on triumphantly to take their bows a bemused audience sat there for quite a while when the curtain went down gazing quizzically at each other: “Are they coming back on” “That can’t be it!” “Is it over?” “Uh?”


Verdict: It’s worth a look see, very well acted with a twist and turn thrown in amongst comedic moments but unsatisfying if, like me, you require a beginning, middle and end.



NEED TO KNOW: Top Girls is at the National Theatre until 22 June 2019 | book tickets




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