Culture Buff

Paula and Helen Thomson in Top Girls

17 February 2018

9:00 AM

17 February 2018

9:00 AM

Caryl Churchill is getting on a bit; I know because she was born just two days after me. She is still productive, prolific even, with over 50 dramatic works to her credit. No fan of Margaret Thatcher, probably a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, she lives in Islington (naturally) and is a committed campaigner for Palestine (naturally). She came to prominence in the mid-seventies via the Royal Court Theatre with Cloud Nine in 1979 followed by Top Girls in 1982.

Sydney Theatre Company is giving Top Girls another outing at the Opera House. STC hasn’t neglected Caryl Churchill, producing Top Girls last (& forthe first time) in 1993, admittedly nearly a generation ago. Churchill was originally produced here in the 1980’s at Belvoir; presumably she appreciates the greater royalties from STC’s larger theatres which presented Cloud Nine last year and one of her newer plays, Love & Information in 2015.

Churchill does not give interviews about her work, not unreasonably leaving the plays to speak for themselves. Her early attention to gender and identity politics as in Cloud Nine and Top Girls, gave way to financial markets in Serious Money (1987) whereas Love & Information is 57 self-contained scenes with cryptic titles. Her latest Here We Go is a ‘short play about death’. Top Girls, a dinner party of famous women across history, is directed for STC by Imara Sauvage featuring Helen Thomson, Paula Arundell and the wonderful Heather Mitchell. Dinner is served!

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