Review Round Up: Top Girls, National Theatre

Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for Lyndsey Turner’s revival of Caryl Churchill’s play.

The Guardian: *** “It’s still a wonderful piece but at times it seems as if we’re watching three separate plays.”

The Stage: *** “No other playwright has so vividly dramatised the core feminist principle that the personal is political. Throughout the play, Churchill vividly dramatises the choices that women can and cannot make – and their repercussions. Although springing from the 1980s, those possibilities are still being debated.”

WhatsOnStage: **** “Churchill’s point remains as razor-sharp in today’s divided society as it was in the Britain of the 1980s. It is still, as one character says in this important, must-see production, ‘frightening’. “

Time Out: ***** “There is much less sense of a director – and designer – imposing herself on the work here. And rightly so, really: the vision is so specific and finely honed that you’d be an idiot to monkey with it. Maybe that’s one reason it doesn’t get revived that often.”

The Telegraph: *** “a feminist museum piece trounced by the drama across the Thames.”

The Independent: ***** “I don’t see how Liv Hill could be better as Angie, virtually stalking her biological mother Marlene with a hilarious and harrowing combination of dangerousness and need. Katherine Kingsley is likewise perfection at getting across how this ungainly flesh of her flesh is acknowledged by Marlene as an unavoidable thorn in her side and at the same dismissed as a Thatcher-era write-off. A work of genius then that will never date.”

Exeunt Magazine: “Liv Hill perfectly pitches Angie’s combination of vulnerability and naïve cruelty (towards Joyce).”

A Younger Theatre: *** “Churchill’s well-loved work is finally given the luxury of a large cast of women, but as a result Top Girls feels too large. Between Ian MacNeil’s varied, broad sets and the ever-changing actors, it feels as though we’re watching three completely different, inconsistent plays. While the play itself and its political connotations hold relevance today, this production leaves quite a bit to be desired.”

There Ought to be Clowns: “There’s no doubting that Top Girls is an arresting evening, its tonal shifts disrupt, its delivery can disarm but in this production, its intelligence is as pin-sharp as ever, its questioning as pertinent to a society yet to reckon fully with its message.”

British Theatre Guide:Top Girls speaks very directly to viewers today and, if one can ignore the 1980s take on gender in the workplace, is almost timeless. As Stephen Jeffreys says, this is at the very least one of the most important and (for some men uncomfortably) enjoyable plays of the last half-century and fully deserves Lyndsey Turner’s well-judged revival.”

Top Girls continues to play at the National Theatre.

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