Review: “Top Girls” Highlights Feminism, Ambition and Power in 1980’s

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Kimiko Gelman in "Top Girls." (Geoffrey Wade)

Kimiko Gelman in "Top Girls." (Geoffrey Wade)

The Antaeus Company, located in the vibrant Arts District of North Hollywood, opened its 2014 season with “Top Girls,” a theatrical event that included a fully partnered cast production on two opening nights March 13 and March 14.

“Top Girls” is an Obie Award winning comedy by Caryl Churchill and directed by Cameron Watson.

Churchill is a British playwright whose work has been widely recognized as having a surrealist approach. In “Top Girls” Churchill explores the complicated relationship between capitalism and feminism. The play shows how women in the 1980’s were struggling to find a voice and define what it meant to be successful. It also deals with how they choose between personal achievement or domestic fulfillment and breaking past that glass ceiling.

Watson does a prolific job in taking you back in time. The opening scene is a dreamlike scene where we are introduced to Marlene (played by Sally Hughes), a woman who has recently received a promotion at work and is having dinner with famous women from history. Hughes delivered an impactful portrayal of Marlene.

Karianne Flaathen (as Isabela/Joyce/Mrs. Kidd), Kimiko Gelman (as Lady Nijo/Win), Etta Devine (as Dull Gret/Angie), Rhonda Aldrich (as Pope Joan/Louise), Jeanne Syquia (as Patient Griselda/Nell/Jeanine), and Alexandra Goodman (as Waitress/Kit/Shona) gave solid performances. They’re all part of the High Flyers cast; they performed on Thursday, March 13.

In “Top Girls,” we see women who’ve achieved so much, but in such a competitive society that they can’t listen they’re not a community of women, they’re individuals telling their own stories.

Watson and The Antaeus Company use a “partner casting” style of an all-woman cast that allows two actors to share every role. The roles are further doubled and tripled to reveal the connections between the characters.The play’s unconventional structure skips back and forth through time.

“Top Girls” is definitely a must-see, as it will have you looking at the struggle that women went through in the 1980’s, and how that same personal struggle is still present today.

Performances of “Top Girls” take place through May 4 on Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m. The Antaeus Company is located at 5112 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood.

For more information and to purchase tickets, call (818) 506-1983 or visit

Daizy Neri is a Contributing Writer for Living Out Loud - LA, covering lifestyle and entertainment. Follow her on Twitter: @CaliD15
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