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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Play
This offering from feminist playwright Caryl Churchill is an uncompromising critique of the capitalist mode of feminism as advocated by the model of the eighties power women, most obviously personified by Margaret Thatcher.

'Top Girls' deploys an interesting technique whereby characters narratives overlap leading to complicated scenarios wherein meaning is lost...
Published on 18 Mar. 2007 by M. Fermor

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good as an addition to the play~!
I was hoping to buy the play for Top Girls, and clicked on the link for this one as it was the cheaper of the two paperbacks. I didn't notice any information on whether this was the play, notes, or both, so I assumed it would be like books I've got before: the play accompanied by notes.
This is a book of notes to help with revision and analysis of the play. The play...
Published on 19 Aug. 2012 by commedesfilles


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Play, 18 Mar. 2007
By 
M. Fermor - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Top Girls (Modern Plays) (Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This offering from feminist playwright Caryl Churchill is an uncompromising critique of the capitalist mode of feminism as advocated by the model of the eighties power women, most obviously personified by Margaret Thatcher.

'Top Girls' deploys an interesting technique whereby characters narratives overlap leading to complicated scenarios wherein meaning is lost in the melee of competing voices. It certainly makes for difficult listening or reading but acts uniquely as a physical representation of the interupted and disjointed histories of the women whose situation it aims to ameliorate.

The play is split into three main sections. The first act witnesses the meeting of various fictional and non-fictional characters from history, literature and art at a dinner party. The party has been organised to celebrate the recent career success of central character Marlene. Marlene works for an agency designed to find jobs for women.

The first section reflects the women's various instances of "success" whilst exposing the commonality of their suffering both at the hands of men and indeed at their hands of their own complicity with the phallocentric societies in which they found themselves.

The next two acts are situated in the present, within a year of each other, and focus on Marlene's character. This present experience acts as an interesting counterpoint to the dinner-time narratives. It becomes abundantly clear that Marlene too, though ostensibly successful, comes with her own baggage and we are asked to quesiton how far indeed women have come, if at all.

'Top Girls' should not be mistaken for a cynical and negative play: far from it. It's message is that there is hope but only through a socialist ethic of togetherness where the intended output is the common good rather than the elevated succes of the individual. This idea is neatly illustrated by Isabella's illness where she reveals that her head could not be supported by the diseased spine. That is to say, without the foundations of a strong society the most talented and superficially gifted individual cannot truly thrive.

I would recommend it on many levels. On the most basic level it is full of dark humour and the chaotic, drunken opening act is compelling both visually and due to the uinique use of overlapping narratives. Gret will make you smile almost everytime she releases one of her limited utterances while Angie's 'momentary' cannibalism is shocking to the extreme.

However, when revisited you will be able to further plumb its hidden depths and observe admiringly how Churchill subtly weaves her earnest polemic into the fabric of the novel.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shocking, humourous, serious - all at the same time., 9 Dec. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Top Girls (Modern Plays) (Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Top Girls is one of a number of plays written by the brilliant Caryl Churhill. First performed in the Royal Court Theatre, 1982, the play proved a raging success, also entertaining the Americans when Performed in Joseph Papps Public Theatre New York. Top Girls is a play not neccessarily concerned with providing answers but asking questions, mainly about the rather archaic and unfair patriarchal society in which all of the women in this play are living in, or indeed, have lived in. It also deals with certain issues about women and the world of work, and more specifically, the prices that are attatched to personal success and acheivment. Top Girls is a play which delivers the fundamental elements which theatre is based upon, and goes a lot further and deeper than this. It has educational values and an extremely serious aspect to it, but at the same time can be intriguigly entertaining and addictive, so much so that one may feel that they are emotionally dragged into one of the many, sometimes tense, sometimes funny, sometimes shocking conversations between the brilliantly constucted characters.
However, there is an underlying seriousness to the play which Churchill manages to mix well with the half hearted humour evident throughout the play. Her idea of bringing different flavours of women, from past and present, and placing them around a table as she does in act one, is ambitious to say the least. It does, however, work well, with each character highlighting the changing ideas and themes towards women and oppression. Overall Top Girls is a Top read. Characters are constructed well, and the plot has a somewhat eye opening twist. Would suit anyone in the adult bracket (contains explicit language), who have an interest in the role of women in society, throughout history.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good as an addition to the play~!, 19 Aug. 2012
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I was hoping to buy the play for Top Girls, and clicked on the link for this one as it was the cheaper of the two paperbacks. I didn't notice any information on whether this was the play, notes, or both, so I assumed it would be like books I've got before: the play accompanied by notes.
This is a book of notes to help with revision and analysis of the play. The play is not included.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing, provocative and illuminative, 14 Feb. 2013
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Although I purchased this primarily for the production itself, which would have been impressive and satisfying on a stand-alone basis, what makes this invaluable is the additional material: the interviews with Caryl Churchill, director Max Stafford-Clark, and the actors from the 1982 and 1991 productions, as well as two academics. Their contributions address issues across the board,: the evolution of the text, the adaptation for TV, characterization, theme, direction, questions of style and genre. One example which illustrates this: one of the actors who appeared in both the original 1982 production referred to her notes/diary in which her character was "colder" than in the 1991 production, giving us insight into how actors and director may approach the play - and that they may do so differently at different times. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining & Thinking, 3 May 2011
By 
J. C. Chamberlain (Manchester, Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This play has been a joy to read and study in both creative writing and literature modules with the OU. The innovative way Churchill writes her scripts is interesting to the point where I've been wondering why every single script in the world hasn't been written in the same way.

Top Girls is essentially about the conflict between men and women, and capitalism and socialism. It was written in 1982 and incorporates the problems of that time in Britain - Thatcherism and it's consequences (and what it was a result of too, basically). There are only female characters in the play but it's not so easy to not compare a few of the characters to how we expect men to behave. However for the most part it's actually comparing women with women. The characters are all different from each other, even those who on the surface seem very similar until you really understand their back story. Knowing what they have given up to get where they are, and what they have taken on from other women, and what their prospects could have been or will be, is what really makes you think.

For female professionals like myself it's difficult not to see familiarity in the choices made so certainly any professional woman coming to this play will, at some point, be a little uncomfortable. But that's what makes you think and though it all it's an enjoyable play.

If you're a man I don't think you should be put off by talk of this being a feminist play, or by the all-female cast (we've had to put up with all male casts too you know) because it's a really good play and if it might just open your eyes to the choices ordinary women have to make about their lives, that men don't always have to consider in such detail.

Fully recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read if you're concerned with feminist ideas and/or social issues, 7 Feb. 2014
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Though it is also a book you are going to enjoy just for its quality as a piece of literature, it is really interesting and suprising the way Churchill presents different sides of the same die without the reader even noticing the change of perspective. Churchill not only depicts different social pre-established models of the 'typical womanly roles' (heartless bussiness woman only worried about her career, failing to have any kind of human relationship; the housekeeper, meant to take care of the house and children; the lazy and somehow silly middle-class woman who is not supposed to achieve nothing in life; the liberal woman in charge of their sexual lives but making themselves objects opressed by the system at the same time; wives subjugated by their husbands and forgeting about themselves and their own necessities); she also criticizes it, such in a subtle way that it makes the reader see this critique as doomed to fail or to follow an utopian unrealistic dream of social feminism capable of changing the real situation in which women as a totality is opressed and being kept, not only by mean, but by patriarchy and capitalism, making them part of the opressor-opressed relationship.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful, 6 Jan. 2014
By 
Charlotte Coles (Larochette, Luxembourg) - See all my reviews
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This book includes the play, but also has help with interpreting the text, and contextual information as well as other information too.
I used this for my drama class at university and found it very helpful towards my studies
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Purchase, 6 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Top Girls (Modern Plays) (Modern Classics) (Paperback)
i purchased for the first time a 'used-good' book, and at first i wasn't too impressed by the condition; the book looked scruffy, had discoloured and some of the pages looked as though someone had put a cup of coffee on it.
However the play itself almost made up for that; throughougly recommend the play to anyone intrested in feminism, Thatcherite values, Artaud, and history in general. The first act is my favourite i have to say, and i feel much more 'culturaly enriched'.
I would advise anyone who intends on just reading the play to buy the 'used good' as it is a lot cheaper, but those intending to study it throughougly, annotating and analysing the play, to buy a new copy outright.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Level Literature Book, 7 Dec. 2013
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I chose a 5/5 rating for Top Girls because I am currently studying the play for my A Level Literature and it is such a good read! It was written contempary to its date and its context revolves heavily around ex-prime minister Margret Thatcher. Wrote by a feminist, Caryl Churchill explores the ways in which women were presented in society in the 1980's, some being very independent and some being extremely dependent on others. It'd a brilliant play and I would highly recommend any a level English student to give Top Girls a read or in fact anyone as it really does shock the audience at times!
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5.0 out of 5 stars wow, 31 Mar. 2014
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Absolutely brilliant play, I was blown away by Churchill. This edition is great as the introduction gives amazing analysis of various scenes, characters and themes throughout the play which really helped me with my A2 English Lit coursework. What is odd, is the order in which the Acts come - in some other editions the play is in a different order which I think makes a huge different to the plot
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Top Girls (Modern Plays) (Modern Classics)
Top Girls (Modern Plays) (Modern Classics) by Caryl Churchill (Paperback - 1 Dec. 2001)
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