There's a female pope and she's coming to dinner

By Giles Hardie February 27, 2018
Top Girls STC 2018

Top Girls is a feast of fine thinking, talking and theatre

1982. Thatcher’s England. A woman is prime minister. Another woman has just been made managing director of her Human Resources firm. So she holds a dinner to celebrate.

To dinner, she invites five other strong women. Women who stood up to the system.

Oh and its possibly worth noting they are women who have been dead for anything up to centuries… if they weren’t fictional creations of an artist in the first place.

They proceed to have a hectic, overlapping, at times unintelligible conversation and as we learn of a woman who became pope, a Japanese courtesan who beat the Emperor and a mother whose children were hidden from her by her husband.

It’s a theatrical overture of cosmic proportions to highlight the amazing, microcosm of 80s British society that follows as we are taken on a journey through the life, history and sacrifices that allowed one woman to succeed in a man’s world.

STC’s Top Girls is the type of production to give meaning to the term ‘tour de force’. The ensemble are nothing short of astounding. The script, one of Caryl Churchill’s first, has been on school syllabuses for decades and yet this production allows for a new lens, a fresh take on the story as the perspective of a society in the grips of the #metoo movement is shown the reality of how far we have - and haven’t - come in 35 years.

Top Girls is not an easy play, but it is a brilliant one, and this is a fantastic production.

Top Girls plays at the Drama Theatre in the Sydney Opera House until 24 March