Lynda and Jools Topp are lesbian twins who perform country music tunes and character comedy. They have also been national entertainment icons for nearly three decades. Of course, their nation is New Zealand – which, apparently, lacks the homophobic neuroticism that shaped American culture.
“The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls” provides a jolly overview on the duo’s unlikely rise from working on a family farm to military service to their pinball journey from busking to political activism to a popular TV series to sell-out concerts that bring in audiences of all known persuasions. The twins also trot out their comedy creations – including naughty Camp Mother and Camp Leader and the daffy Bowling Ladies – for in-character interviews.
While some of the pair’s comedy routines are rooted too firmly in New Zealand’s distinctive heritage to have a broad trans-Pacific crossover appeal (particularly their male drag alter egos the Two Kens, a pair of farmers), the Topp Twins’ vibrantly innovative music and indefatigable personalities have a universal charm. It is a shame that another Kiwi pair, Flight of the Conchords, were given the chance to secure a mainstream American success rather than Lynda and Jools. The Topp Twins are a much more invigorating and original act – indeed, watching this wonderful documentary, it is impossible for the American viewer not to wonder why these fun women aren’t better known in the United States.