Tea with The Topp Twins

The Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch

23/03/2024 - 23/03/2024


Production Details

Created and performed by Dames Lynda and Jools Topp

The Court Theatre

DATE: Saturday 23 March | 11am; The Court Theatre

For a very special 70 minutes, Dame Lynda and Jools Topp come together for a relaxed conversation. Telling stories of their careers, their hopes for the future, how they see the world and yes, a song or two. This will be something truly special and unlike anything you will have seen or will ever see again. You’ll even get a cup of tea and a wee scone to enjoy. Hosted by Lana Searle from MoreFM’s Breakfast Club.

Tickets $55. Part of The Court Theatre’s Rainbow Theatre Weekend

Dame Lynda Topp
Dame Jools Topp

Image Credit: Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards 2023

Theatre ,

70 minutes

Like coming home, for the best kind of homecoming

Review by Julie McCloy 28th Mar 2024

It’s Christchurch Pride Week and, to celebrate, The Court Theatre has created a Rainbow Theatre Weekend – a multicoloured rainbow of performances ranging from nude play readings to children’s story time.

The show that catches my immediate eye – and the collective eyes of about 380 other people’s – is that by NZ Icons, Dames Jools and Lynda Topp.

Tea and freshly made scones are on offer in a buzzing foyer when my friend and I arrive for the 11am “retirement home time slot” appointment with their Dame-ships. We start a little late, but I can tell you there is a palpable vibration of expectation and happiness in the auditorium. MC Lana Searle invites us to stand and dance Jools and Lynda onto the stage and, truly, the crowd goes wild. Genuine love and excitement flows from the audience and onto the stage.

The Topp Twins have been part of the New Zealand entertainment scene for over 40 years, creating a unique blend of humour, country music, character skits, yodelling and political passion. Today they are here to talk about their lives. Seventy minutes is not nearly enough for these natural born storytellers. Searle guides the conversation but, in truth, these brilliant women have no trouble talking and engaging the audience. They riff off and pass between each other with a familiarity that comes both from being identical twins and long-term performing partners.

These self-proclaimed ‘political lesbians, radicals, entertainers’ have a little bit of everything to offer us today. Of course, there are songs, featuring the beautiful harmonising, and the yodelling. There is obvious sisterly love plus many, many laughs and the anecdotes – we learn a lot about their childhood (and even the intra-womb collusion which kept their ‘twinness’ a secret until birth), the influence of their beloved mum, the party experiences of their youth in Huntly, and entertaining (then) Prince Charles.

When Searle asks them if they realise their impact on NZ culture, they talk about their passionate involvement in many points of cultural and political change: protests in favour of making NZ nuclear Free; the 1981 Springbok tour; the Bastion Point occupations; and the Homosexual Law Reform. As openly lesbian women since the seventies, they are passionate about inclusion and equality, and their audience is a visual demonstration (by way of shows of hands) of that diversity and inclusion. People are here simply to appreciate the talents of other people – no labels or judgements; that’s the point.

Over their long career The Topp Twins have used their voice and status to make change about the things that mattered to them, and to many others. But they are also part of our culture in the most basic of ways – so many of us can see ourselves, and familiar experiences, reflected by the stories Lynda and Jools tell, and the songs they sing. There is no pretension from the Topps and no doubt that is part of the reason they are so beloved. They are talented comedians and musicians but they also represent something we recognise, or wish to believe, is essentially Kiwi – a no bullshit, laugh at yourself and tell it like it is approach.

This show is truly like coming home, for the best kind of homecoming – the chatty catchup, reminisces and laughs with people you know so well.

The ‘Untouchable Girls’ have been touched by life, being forced to take a hiatus from performing and even seeing each other due to the “three Cs – Covid, cancer and chemotherapy” in 2021. That fight is not fully over – Jools has ongoing preventive monthly treatments – but they are getting back out in the public eye and are thinking about planning a concert each month in the cities around the country.  

Trust me, if they do, go and see them. Welcome each other home.


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