Oxford Revives Churchill's Top Girls On TourDate: 3 September 2001
Cary Churchill's award-winning 1980s play, Top Girls, is being presented on tour by the Oxford Stage Company. The revived version opens at Leicester Haymarket on 13 September 2001, starring Elizabeth Berrington, before calling at Bury St Edmunds, Brighton, Poole, Bracknell and Cheltenham.
Widely acknowledged now as a major work of its time, Top Girls centres on a dinner party thrown by a hard-nosed yuppie. Celebrating her appointment as MD of a recruitment agency, Marlene hosts an evening with five historical figures as guests. They include Pope Joan (the early female transvestite Pope), Patient Griselda (Chaucer's obedient wife), and the traveller Isabella Bird.
Throughout the course of the party, the women's stories unfold and leave a variety of impressions on Marlene. Depicting the historical choices available to women at home and in the workplace, Top Girls opened at London's Royal Court in 1982. It also played successfully on Broadway and won the 1983 Obie Award.
Elizabeth Berrington trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Art. Her stage credits include The Shagaround (Soho Theatre), The Country Wife (Sheffield Crucible), An Ideal Husband (Royal Exchange) and The Last Waltz (Chester Gateway). On television she has appeared in The Lakes, Nature Boy, Silent Witness and Casualty. Her film career has taken in Quills, Mad Cows, plus Mike Leigh's Naked and Secrets and Lies.
Major works by Caryl Churchill include Far Away, which transferred to the West End's Albery in January 2001. Her other plays include Cloud Nine (also an Obie winner), Serious Money (Olivier Best Play in 1987) and Blue Heart. She defines her theatrical interests as power, powerlessness, exploitation and dreams.
Top Girls is directed by Thea Sharrock, an Associate Director of the West End hit Art. Other members of the cast include Helen Anderson (TV's London's Burning), Sophie Ward (The Heiress at RNT) and Pascale Burgess (The Name at Royal Court). Recent Oxford Stage productions have numbered Hay Fever, The Contractor and The Wexford Trilogy.
- by Gareth Thompson