Review: APPRAISAL – ADELAIDE FRINGE 2024 at The Ballroom, Ayers House

An annual work appraisal with a difference.

By: Feb. 29, 2024
Review: APPRAISAL – ADELAIDE FRINGE 2024 at The Ballroom, Ayers House
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Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Thursday 29th February 2024.

I reviewed Appraisal last year, written and directed by Tim Marriott, but with two other performers, Nicholas Collett and Emily-Jo Davidson. This year, Tim Marriott is taking on the role of senior office manager, Jo, and Adelaide Critics Circle Award winner, Stefanie Rossi, plays his subordinate, department head, Nicky, who has been called into his office for her annual performance appraisal meeting. He has her self-assessment document and begins by discussing her answers to the questions therein, twisting her answers to put her on the back foot from the very start.
 
Like most of us who have been subjected to that nonsense, Nicky sees the interview as a complete waste of time, a pointless distraction from her work. Jo, however, has an agenda of his own, his ulterior motives emerging as the interview proceeds, and sparks begin to fly. Nicky is nobody’s fool, and to Jo’s surprise, she expected his machinations and was well prepared for his devious manipulation of the situation.

With a more mature performer in the role of Nicky, this production returns to the original script, in which Nicky has a young adult daughter working as an intern for the company. This works better than the modified script last year that had to account for the much younger performer in the role. As good as that production was, this one takes it up several levels. The dynamics of this production are markedly different to the previous version, stronger and more complex, and the rapport between Marriott and Rossi is electric. They delve deeper into the script, bringing out more of the emotional exchanges and the dark humour.

Appraisal, and Marriott’s other production, Watson: the Final Problem, have both enjoyed sold-out performances in the 2023 Adelaide Fringe, and in the Edinburgh Fringe, and they have collected numerous awards and great reviews, so don’t wait a moment to book your tickets for both superb productions.

Tim Marriot is reprising Watson: the Final Problem, which is essential viewing for any fan of the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but has appeal for anybody who enjoys high-quality theatre, and there are a few more chances to catch that excellent production by booking here. My review of the 2023 performance of that performance is here.

He also directed The New Abnormal, and my review of that fine production is here.



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