Appraisal @ Main Theatre at Kryztoff at the Goodwood Theatre, Goodwood SA 19/2/2023

Performance reviews. They bring fear into the hearts of employees. Or make them cringe. Seldom are they a welcome part of the employment cycle.

Presented by Virtually Creative, Appraisal is the story of senior manager Jo (Nicholas Collett) and head of department Nicky (Emily-Jo Davidson). Things go awry when the two come face-to-face for Nicky’s annual performance review. While Nicky is stymied by the process, Jo uses the opportunity as a power play. A highly toxic appraisal ensues with demonstrations of manipulation, duplicity, and coercion from both.

Written by award-winning actor, writer, and director Tim Marriott (Mengele, Shell Shock), Appraisal highlights the familiar association between an employer and their employee. The screenplay is shrewdly conceived. It captures a conversation typically held behind closed doors with a mix of ambiguity and acrimony. Corporate hierarchical norms are challenged as the headstrong Nicky enters into a battle of wits with the wily Jo. Over an hour, we are taken on an apprehensive journey. A battle of wills. Tension builds and releases as the anticipation of who will be victorious grows.

The set is minimal. Two chairs and a desk with office items atop. The only music offered, Sheena Easton’s 9 to 5, is heard briefly at the start of the performance. No doubts are cast as to where the play is set. However, it is Collett and Davidson who are at the heart of Appraisal.

The actors’ rapport is strong. Collett portrays the conniving Jo with conviction. Davidson, the irritated Nicky with plausibility. As the narrative progresses the dynamic between the two alters. Establishing a ‘bad guy’ becomes impossible, making the play even more enjoyable.

Appraisal is a droll and engrossing experience that will make you think your job may not be so bad after all. For those who have worked in an office environment, this play is relatable if a little fantastical.

Fringe Review By Anita Kertes

For tickets and show information for Appraisal head to FringeTix

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