‘On paper, they shouldn’t work,’ one contributor notes of Jools and Lynda Topp, the twin lesbian yodelling anarchist variety performers who, over the past three decades, have become Kiwi legends by dint of their persistence, integrity and dedication to bloody good fun. Drawing on concert footage, archive material and interviews with the twins, their family and collaborators, Leanne Pooley’s documentary traces the Topps’ progress from hearty farm girls to radical performer-activists to national treasures, mapping out their jumbling of country and western, character comedy and social satire in a way that reaches seemingly any audience. The sisters’ intimate bond, political sensibility and talent to entertain appear to have been consistent since adolescence, and they’ve always done things their own way – an impressive state of affairs but not one that makes for an especially dramatic life story. They come across as thoroughly likeable – this in itself might have been their biggest contribution to New Zealand’s struggle for gay rights – and Pooley’s film is a fine testament to them, but at feature length this might be one for the fans.
Wednesday February 15 2012