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Top Girls

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  4,282 Ratings  ·  158 Reviews

The dialectic of Top Girls is wide-ranging, covering universal dilemmas facing women, but focuses on  major themes of contemporary life. The critique of feminist ambitions is a clear central theme and Churchill's selection of women from the past and modern world shows sympathy for the feminist cause and disdain for the male oppressor, but there is no sentimentality an no

Paperback, 96 pages
Published June 14th 1984 by Bloomsbury Methuen Drama (first published January 1st 1982)
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May 17, 2016 Soplada rated it it was ok
As said about this play "It raises questions about Feminisn ,but doesn't answer them" and what a kind of depressing, fruitless and vain questions it raises?
Sep 03, 2012 Jeanne rated it really liked it
It's a book that seems more likely to spark a dozen conversations than one which it is easy to judge per se. To the point: did I like it? Of course. I didn't actually expect to say things like, "it's clumsily written" or "the plot is hackneyed" about a play someone is given to read in lit class. So... did I agree with it? And that's where trouble begins. What exactly is the author trying to say? The end of the play feels like one big question mark, which is not a bad thing, but certainly seems t ...more
Aug 21, 2013 Siana rated it did not like it
There are some plays, like dangerous narcotics, that warrant for a warning to be printed on the side. The warning should state that: This play may cause the reader to experience feelings of hopelessness, rage, depression, violent mood swings, blackouts, or, in severe cases, the reader might even develop chronic narcolepsy and spend the rest of their lives spontaneously falling unconscious whenever the name “Carly Churchill” or “Top Girls” are mentioned in conversation.

Whenever I read a five sta
Shawn (ThatOneEnglishGradStudent)
I studied this for a class a couple of years ago, but I wanted to give it a proper read-through on my own. As a written piece, it can be a little difficult to follow because the characters often speak over one another (as indicated via markings on the page), but this is really only in the first scene where there are seven characters in conversation. I love how Churchill brings in historical and literary women, double- and triple-casting actresses to create parallels between them and the modern w ...more
Poppy Jane
Oh my.

I read Churchill's Top Girls as part of my A Level English Literature class and was truly amazed by how much I loved it. When we started reading the play, I wasn't too sure what I thought partly because of the strange situation it throws you into but also due to the fact that I'd never read a play before. Once I got into the way of reading a play, I was totally submerged in what was happening.

Loved the outcome of this play, especially the way it wasn't obvious and took some working out. Ca
Apr 15, 2013 Taraneh rated it it was amazing
A very detailed intelligently written play it was ! Every single information you're given is so cleverly put in its place that makes you want to stand up clap your hands for Churchill!
And yes I did cry at the end so how can I not like a play that moved me this much !?
Loved different female characters Churchill created. I could identify with each of them in a different way. I felt like each of them carried a little part of my soul.
Apr 28, 2015 Maxwell rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own-it, drama, 2015
Very interesting approach to playwriting here. It mixes historical figures at a dinner party, with Marlene, being one of the only consistent characters throughout, as she works in a temp agency. Reminded me of Ali Smith's writing with the strong feminist themes and blending of modern and historical time frames. Looking forward to unpacking this in class.
I was in this. In England, on a high school summer program. I learned how to pour tea properly thanks to my role. Some scenes were good, some were overly dramatic, some weren't as funny as they should have been. But how many plays do you get with an entire cast of women other than Nunsense? Points!
Marc Kohlman
Apr 19, 2013 Marc Kohlman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this play for my college Feminism class and I thought it was very interesting how it focuses on what it means to be a successful woman. Act I of the play was intriguing and examines the social achievement of women through the legendary and historical female characters who attend Marlene's luncheon. Each of the guests represented different ideals of women having social liberties and power. Pope Joan reflects Marlene's own life style when I first read it. Both Marlene and Joan were clever f ...more
Mar 03, 2008 Chris rated it really liked it
Caryl Churchill is a master of taking what would in lesser hands be an experiment in collage and creating something emotionally charged and politically.

While on the one hand the characters in Top Girls are passionate and examples of strength, they are also figures of regret and uncertainly.

Luckily Churchill doesn't take a strong-side and make this a message play (claiming that working women are empty without a family, or that housewives are without identity other without their families), but ins
Rumeysa Satıcı
Dec 25, 2016 Rumeysa Satıcı rated it it was amazing
It can be seen as a rewriting of Irigaray theory. Male-centered world is criticisied. To be great, woman sacrifices their goodness as Marlene sacrifices her motherhood to have a succesful career in which to be succesful is required competition in capitalist and materialist world. As Irigaray tries to find an alternative to the constructed system, Carry Churcill gives us an alternative character Gret who is trying to be great and good at the same time.The first act gives middle age's woman proble ...more
May 13, 2012 Esraa rated it liked it
It was really interesting for me reading such a play. It really tackles on the issues of what it means to be a successful woman in a male-dominated world, and what are the boundaries and obstacles that prevent women from getting their right positions in life. I'm really happy I got the chance to read it for my Drama class; it was enjoyable.
Malia Frederick
Oct 25, 2015 Malia Frederick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this play so much.
Mar 24, 2017 Mar rated it it was amazing
Oh wow this was magnificient.
Jul 28, 2009 Anum rated it really liked it
This was a rather interesting take on feminism by Carly Churchill. I really thought that she handled all her characters, style and language well in the play.

What I loved most was the way the play enfolds. First we are shown the so called successful women of the past and some reflection of their life and characteristics in Marlene. Then we see the amazing transition of every career woman's idol changing into a social hazard, a woman who had abandoned family for work. The structure of the play is
After reading this play, just one word comes to mind; huh?

This is just so confusing. First off, every act is so different that they could all be from separate plays. They don't have any relation to one another at all. The only constant in all three is Marlene and I'm not even sure why. There isn't a plot, there isn't a story-line or any type of goal for Marlene, and it just doesn't make any sense.

Maybe I'm missing the point. I understand that this play is set in the 1980's, around the Thatcher
Jun 26, 2016 Maryam rated it it was amazing
Marlene is a complicated character. This book definitely is pro feminism. The structure of it was complex at first, I couldn't adjust to the meaning quite quickly but then everything was pieces together as I read on.

It saddens me that as different as each of the characters were they still were insanely unhappy. I don't want to spoil any of the events but there is something in the play that shocked me. It definitely made the whole play a whole lot more interesting. There are a ton of questions in
Dec 07, 2008 Graham rated it it was ok
Shelves: plays
I'm ashamed to say that I didn't *get* this play. I had to study it as part of my undergraduate degree and it's one of the set texts I avoided where I could.

I understand that all the debates on feminism etc. were a product of their time (the '80s) and that this play deals with important, complex subjects. But I didn't care for much of what was going on. The only section I liked was when all of the different characters from different countries and periods of histories gathered at a table together
Apr 08, 2012 Sarar rated it did not like it
Shelves: plays-drama, feminism
i only read this play because i had to pass the DRAMA exam and eventually graduate , well i found this book really confusing characters from past and present mingling together interrupting one another , total chaos , but i loved the third part where the scene takes place in the kitchen discussing interesting subjects like poverty and the dominating system of the Iron Lady ... get tough or die
Mar 09, 2012 Paige rated it it was ok
The format of this book made it a difficult read, however I can see how it would work when performed on stage. I enjoyed the second act much more than the first act even though they were only related by a character or two.
Greg Kemble
Apr 16, 2013 Greg Kemble rated it really liked it
Great first act; the rest is interesting, too, but the first act is virtuosic (if that's not a word, it should be).
Daniel Blight
Jan 18, 2013 Daniel Blight rated it did not like it
complete and utter rubbish, not going to read it again
May 20, 2015 Juliet rated it it was ok
Shelves: chick-lit, plays
Oct 04, 2016 rebecca rated it really liked it
I LOVED IT SO MUCH i'm so excited to study it
Jun 08, 2012 Chloe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
this book made like
no sense
there was no plot
it was enjoyable
Oct 11, 2015 Edith rated it it was amazing
Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls play focuses on its lead character Marlene and her personal development as a female working in London after having successfully branched out away from her blue-collar roots family. While Marlene has made a life for herself in a male dominated industry her success has come at great personal cost to her because she has little to no contact with her family and left her daughter behind for her sister to raise. The opening scene shows Marlene gathering at a celebration for ...more
Indu Muralidharan
'Top Girls' was published in 1982 and is dated in many ways. Yet it raises questions on feminism and women's emancipation that are relevant in the present day. The first act in which Marlene invites five women from various periods in history for a celebratory meal sets off the mood for the play. Six women who have lived very different lives which were against the norms of their period, sit down to dinner. Their conversation progresses rapidly, recalling real and fictional incidents across the ce ...more
Jan 31, 2017 Beth rated it liked it
Shelves: play-texts
I read this at the start of the year because of studying it in drama, therefore I had to study it in so much detail to the point that I was sick of it.

I did however like the femininity and behind the play and I thought that the cut ins when other characters are talking is so clever and it is very hard to perform and so confusing despite the cleverness behind it.

Churchill made me think about my own fantasy dinner party that was apart of act 1, I think it was so clever to have women talk about t
Melissa Tennant
A highly conceptual play about feminism. For me, it would have made much more sense to be a one-act play. There were too many things were discussed and not answered. Having only read the play, its intentions may be clearer onstage, so I would go and watch a performance of Churchill's feminist play, but it is a bit out there for me, to be frank
Sadegh Maleki
Jun 08, 2016 Sadegh Maleki rated it really liked it
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Formal Review 1 4 Oct 11, 2015 08:22PM  
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Caryl Churchill (born 3 September 1938) is an English dramatist known for her use of non-naturalistic techniques and feminist themes, dramatisation of the abuses of power, and exploration of sexual politics.[1] She is acknowledged as a major playwright in the English language and one of world theatre's most influential writers.

Her early work developed Bertolt Brecht's modernist dramatic and theatr
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“NIJO: I'm not a cheerful person, Marlene. I just laugh a lot.” 0 likes
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