Top Girls (Sydney Theatre Company)

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Ian Dickson Monday, 19 February 2018
Published in ABR Arts

As Van Badham points out in her program essay for the new Sydney Theatre Company production of Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls, when the play was first performed in 1982, Maggie Thatcher had been the British prime minister for three years. The first wave of British feminism in the 1970s had identified the patriarchal structure of society and was debating the ways in which it could be deconstructed. But now a woman was in charge and she was behaving like the most testosterone-charged of her predecessors. Many a crusty old Tory could be heard to say approvingly, ‘Maggie’s the only man in the cabinet.’

In Top Girls Churchill asks the question, was the ultimate purpose of the feminist struggle merely for the benefit of a few women who had the luck, opportunity, and aggression to beat men at their own game or was it actually to change society. As Churchill says: ‘I wanted [Top Girls] to ... look as if it were going to be a celebration of women achieving things, and then to put the other perspectives on it, to show that just to achieve the same things that men achieved in capitalist society wouldn’t be a good object.’

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Published in ABR Arts
Ian Dickson

Ian Dickson

Ian Dickson has degrees in drama from Yale and the University of New South Wales, and is the co-author of the musical Better Known As Bee.

Comments (1)

  • Leave a comment

    Thank you Ian Dickson for your honest and accurate review. Most other sites rated this play far too generously. You are spot on that this was a very disappointing opening to the season and the first half was a meandering mess. The second half was better, but was still off-mark and I think most of the audience were relieved when they could leave. Thank heavens for Heather Mitchell ...

    Saturday, 24 February 2018 07:58 posted by Adrian

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