Review - Top Girls by Caryl Churchill - Trafalgar Studios

I love seeing a play that I love presented well. With the exception of one actor, whose voice I found hard to listen to, these ladies presented Churchill's gutsy play with every ounce of real, juicy, funny, harsh activity that it deserves. It is remarkable that a play which premiered in the year I was born still has such loud resonance for the condition of women in society. Churchill's argument, that women through time have had these struggles, and despite our "successes" continue to, was loud and clear in this production. Suranne Jones is outstanding as Marlene, the power-hungry emblem of the Thatcherite quest for power; every ounce of her being was poured into the shifts from Marlene at dinner, to work, to home. Her vulnerability whilst defending her choices hit me in the gut, and made me angry at her choices, but also angry at a world which causes women to feel they must make those choices to achieve success.

Even today, 2011, I get amazed looks when people learn that I've managed to "do it all"; Management job, child, extra curricular work in the theatre, and now going for the MA. If a man chose to go for the MA "later" would he be "amazing" or anything of the sort?? (I say "later" in quotations because I truly believe 29 isn't at all old to be completing an MA and expounding my thoughts about the theatre on the world..I've only just begun!)

The other thing that really struck me was the reverence to Churchill's text and the originally intended production style. Part of me was happy (and amazed) that this didn't feel dated, but felt to resonate more as a result. But part of me wanted Churchill's text to be played with, to consider the role that heightened sexuality of women in the media and its resultant affect on young girls. To consider that we are still in a place (arguably further back than in 1982) where women are cruel and difficult to other women, where they judge one another and put them down to pull themselves up.

In any case, I think this was a fabulous production. And it made me think.