Jumbled and confusing. No doubt loved by those in the professions but not at all entertaining for a regular audience.
Self-indulgent and ponderous were the obvious descriptions for me, with tedious and a waste of money following closely behind. Nicely ironic for those who didn't really approve of the politics of the 80@s but thrived anyway; not so for those who genuinely suffered.
Not Recommended. - Alf King
12 Mar 12
I blame Charles Spencer. It was his 4-star review that persuaded me to take in Top Girls. It's also prominently displayed in the foyer of the theatre and it was interesting to see a large number of people reading it during the first interval, presumably trying to work out what the hell was going on. Marlene's imaginary dinner party was entertaining enough but the historical characters were so random that it failed as a coherent piece. It's obvious that Caryl Chuchill has written a neo-feminist tract about the choices and concessions forced on women in the 1980s in order to forge a career or maintain a family life. However it's so full of inconsistencies and contradictions that it doesn't stand up to scrutiny no matter how good the direction or acting. - David Baxter
14 Oct 11
This is an outstanding production of a great play. Suranne Jones and Stella Gonet lead an outstanding cast. The direction and design are so right that you barely notice them as you are swept along by the drama (and comedy - it's also a very funny play...) Probably the best thing in the West End at the moment. - Dmass
30 Aug 11
Enjoyed it though I could not quite get why everyone was dressed the way they were in the first scene. Not the best play I have seen but it was entertaining and loved Suranne Jones and Stella Gonet though really the best parts was played by Olivia Poulet and also in the first scene it was dominated by the performance of Catherine McCormack. - Joe Spiteri
28 Aug 11
Top girls gets 3 stars on the 1st July in chichester and 5 stars in the west end a month later. That should tell you something. The funniest thing about this play was watching various members of the audience nodding off . Ok the first part was quite amusing, with some good acting, but the office stuff was pretty uneventful and old fashioned, the last scene should have been on fire but just limped to the end.
26 Aug 11
Great production, really enjoyed it. Suranne Jones is really good. Go see it! - Karen
23 Aug 11
I enjoyed the play but thought that the cast at the Dinner table talking over each other, made it difficult to follow.
23 Aug 11
As a person who tends to appreciate digressions from realism, I really enjoyed this play. I enjoy watching a lot of dead people who lived at different times in history get together for a dinner party. The production is skilfully cast, every cast member bringing something wonderful to the mix. And the doubling up of various roles (I think only Suranne Jones, playing the central character, Marlene does not double up) adds something extra too, as we watch the same actresses transform into different women, and can more fully appreciate how circumstances make these women what they are, just as much as genetic inheritance. Indeed, Stella Gonet's two characters are chalk and cheese, as she goes from one utterly charming yet unbelievably selfish character (Isabella Bird must be turning in her grave at this depiction of her) to a deeply self-sacrificing wallflower of a character, Marlene's sister, Joyce, for whom your heart bleeds. Suranne Jones is imperious as Marlene, the embodiment of female empowerment at the initial dinner party, though she actually says very little. And yet, in the following acts, Jones subtly indicates how the sacrifices that Marlene has made to get to the top cause her immense pain underneath the surface. It's a terrific performance. Catherine McCormack too is spectacular: her pathetic garullous whinging Lady Nishi initially irritated me, yet her performance grows in intensity with revelations that explain how she came to "laugh yet not be happy" until I found myself shedding tears. McCormack triumphs again in the subsequent act as a mirror Marlene, hardnosed, yet obviously bruised in her humanity, who poignantly lets out her most touching revelations as the person she is talking to falls asleep. And Olivia Poulet, as the almost silent helmeted sword-wilding Dull Gret, comes across as the most likeable of the figures at the dinner party, and the most disturbed of all the characters in the subsequent acts, as her confused teenager struggles with deep issues of who she is, as a person, as a family member, and as a woman. And Lucy Briers as Pope Joan, also brilliant. I really liked this production. - Steve
22 Aug 11
I loved this play. Great performances from every member of the cast. If you don't know this play it would probably be worth reading the synopsis beforehand as it can seem a bit disjointed and confusing at first. I could definitely see this again and again, I think there'd be something new to discover in it each time. - SJS
20 Aug 11
The play starts well although sometimes hard to hear individual actors as the director has the cast talk over each other when they are seated at the table. Unfortunately the play goes downhill after the first act and sorry to say this play really is not worth seeing except for the acting by an excellent cast. - ils
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