Marlene has been promoted to managing director of the ‘Top Girls’ employment agency and is celebrating with some distinguished guests. Her “if you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be” party is attended by women in legend or history who offer perspectives on maternity and ambition. In a time warp, these ladies are then transformed into her co-workers, clients, and relatives as we transition to London in the Thatcher years. Marlene, like her famous guests, has had to pay a price to ascend from proletarian roots to the executive suite. In many ways she’s become, figuratively speaking, a male oppressor: even coaching her female clients to adopt odious male traits. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, this seminal play of the modern theatre poses complex questions about feminism, power, motherhood, agency, and the meaning of success.
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