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Top Girls
Top Girls

Top Girls
Remy Bumppo Theatre at Theater Wit
Thru - Feb 22, 2020

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Remy Bumppo Theatre at Theater Wit

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Recommended

"...Written in 1982, "Top Girls" is a take down of so-called "bourgeois feminism," a term that was very much in vogue during Margaret Thatcher's early years as British Prime Minister. When "Top Girls" was at its height of popularity, the peer feminist critic Michelene Wandor was declaring there to be three kinds of feminism: radical feminism, a school of thought that Wandor saw as rooting in the inherent antagonism of gender; socialist feminism, which saw feminism as inseparable from socialism and its economic and class-based implications; and bourgeoisie feminism, wherein women essentially denied their femininity and took on male attributes to get ahead. Even if that meant embracing capitalist brutality."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended

"...Gillum's Marlene is hard-edged, but she's not entirely wrong to feel pride in her accomplishments-even if they came at the cost of abandoning her daughter. (Powerful men, of course, abandon children all the time without it wreaking havoc on their social standing.) Spence's Joyce sticks the knife in by reminding Marlene that the "stupid, lazy, or frightened" people she's dismissing in praise of Thatcherism include Angie."
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Kerry Reid

Time Out Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...Churchill does not let her eye for nuance compromise her moral outrage. When a colleague's wife (Spence again) argues that Marlene should cede her promotion to him, disgust seeps through Marlene's steely demeanor; when her guard is down, that same animus pours forth onto less deserving targets. Gillum expertly depicts Marlene's disregard for the have-nots, like her sister and her mother, who aren't sociopathic enough to become the haves. If her Marlene is an unstoppable force, Spence's blunt and beaten-down Joyce is the immovable object made to meet her. And De Asua's Angie is heartbreaking: a young woman whose innocence is the wellspring of her overwhelming anger. Unlike Marlene, she's all flesh and blood, with no trace of iron. No wonder the Thatcher set thinks she doesn't stand a chance."
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Alex Huntsberger

Stage and Cinema- Highly Recommended

"...Now at Theater Wit in an elaborately staged and exhaustively detailed revival by Keira Fromm for Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, this three-acter (actually more like a trilogy since each act bears its own style as well as story) shows us someone who has it all, as in nothing. Marlene is a rising honcho in a corporate head-hunting recruitment firm. We see her from all angles — respectively in each act: a historical perspective; at work; and in her diminished domestic side."
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Lawrence Bommer

Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...I am one of those who enjoys an English comedy, so viewing Remy Bumppo’s latest production, “Top Girls” is two hours-thirty-five minutes of fun and games. For those of you unused to three act plays, this may be more of an event than a theatrical experience. Others will find it a sharp play written by Caryl Churchill and sharply directed by Keira Fromm that looks at women in business as well as family."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago- Somewhat Recommended

"...It's unfortunate then that this love has somehow failed to manifest itself in Fromm's production. This "Top Girls" has select moments of resonance and inspiration, lodged between large stretches of dry performance, inconsistent English accents, and a production that has an overall lack of drive and momentum in any form, with scenes and acts ending without any form of build or tension. For a ninety minute show, this might be a slight hurdle. For a three act, almost three-hour drama, it's practically insurmountable. "
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Ben Kaye

WTTW- Highly Recommended

"...Watching this exceptional production I thought about "Six," the musical that triumphed in Chicago and is about to open on Broadway. In that show, the wives of an English king have the chance to vent and get a little of their own back. In "Top Girls," Churchill captures more of the complex mix of pain, loneliness, selfishness and resentment that can come along with liberation."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...This classic comedy by Caryl Churchill is most famous for its unique, surreal opening scene, during which five famous historical and fictional women enjoy each other’s company at a contemporary dinner party. During this scene, the ladies discuss the various societal roles for women throughout the ages. But, largely because of Keira Fromm’s smart direction and her talented cast, the scenes that follow are equally as exciting. This stunning production amplifies everything the playwright is saying about women’s rights, feminism and personal life in a way that makes this almost 40-year-old play feel fun, fresh and fitting for our time."
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Colin Douglas

The Fourth Walsh- Recommended

"...Playwright Caryl Churchill pens a quirky yet thought-provoking tale of girl power. Churchill tells her story in three acts. In the first act, Marlene (played by Linda Gillum) celebrates her recent promotion at a dinner party. The fantasy feast brings together women throughout history. They are drinking in each other's struggles and achievements in a man's world. Churchill puts together an obscure guest list based on literary figures."
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Katy Walsh

Third Coast Review- Recommended

"...The long (2 ˝ hours plus 2 intermissions) meditation, directed by Keira Fromm for Remy Bumppo, holds up to 21st century scrutiny and remains innovative in presentation. Act One is an elongated allusion, a fantasy dinner party evocative of Judy Chicago's notable 1974-79 installation of 39 place settings for real and mythical historical women, now housed at the Brooklyn Museum. (The Chicago-born artist created the country's first feminist art program at CSU Fresno.)"
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Karin McKie and Kim Campbell

Chicago On Stage- Highly Recommended

"...Director Keira Fromm gets everything she can from a talented group of actors. Even Hurd and Vafadari, left to nonverbal responses in the first act, find the spotlight in well-defined roles at the employment agency, where Marlene and her employees demand a kind of masculine resolve from their clients."
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Karen Topham

Picture This Post- Recommended

"...Don't let the first scene scare you too much. As heightened and theatrical as it may be, the remainder of Churchill's play is very grounded in the everyday, and becomes a more political family drama. As the play goes on we start to see what Marlene's success has cost her, and how she handles those choices."
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Lauren Katz