Picture by Tony Buckingham
background and the Oxford Stage Company are to present a new production of Caryl Churchill's play Top Girls for a limited run at the Aldwych Theatre before it goes on a nationwide tour.
Written and set in 1982, the play is acknowledged as one of the great plays of the twentieth century. It centres on Marlene, the newly appointed manager of 'Top Girls' recruitment agency. To celebrate her promotion she hosts a party for five of the most extraordinary women in history; Isabella Bird (the Victorian traveller), Lady Nijo (the Japanese courtesan), Pope Joan (the only female pope), Chaucer's Patient Griselda, and Dull Gret (as depicted by Breughel).
The audience eavesdrops as they talk about life in each of their male dominated cultures.
The action then moves to the high-flying environment of Marlene's office before revisiting the harsh reality of her hometown and her family life. Confronted by her sister, and the truths of her past, does the material girl finally meet her match?
Caryl Churchill is one of the UK's most prolific and respected female playwrights. Cloud Nine won both an Obie and the Hollywood Dramalogue Critics Award. Top Girls also won an Obie. In 1987 Serious Money, one of the most savagely funny plays I have ever seen, received both the Olivier Award for Best Play, and the Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy.
Thea Sharrock directs this production of Top Girls. She is artistic director of Southwark Playhouse and Associate Director of the West End production of Art.
She won the James Menzies-Kitchen Memorial Trust's Award for Best Young Director, awarded to her for directing this play at Battersea Arts Centre.
The cast comprises Helen Anderson, Elizabeth Berrington, Pascale Burgess, Hattie Ladbury, Joanna Scanlon and Sophie Shaw.
background re-opened the Arts Theatre with Another Country last September.
The short London run of Top Girls is from January 8 to February 2. The Aldwych Theatre Box Office 0870 4000 805.