Theatre (new writing)

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An annual work review that goes horribly wrong. Jo needs to appraise Nicky. Nicky just wants to keep working. A power play of manipulation, subtext and subterfuge, 'a tense relatable thriller' (, exploring explosive consequences arising out of a seemingly innocent conversation. Written by Tim Marriott (Watson: The Final Problem). Returning after sold-out seasons at Edinburgh Fringe 2022 and Adelaide Fringe 2023. 'A convoluted maze with humorous, dramatic punch' ***** ( 'A terrific play, disturbingly realistic' ***** ( 'Intelligent and incisive... utterly captivating' ***** ( 'A classically structured two-hander that captures the unjustifiable' **** (Scotsman).

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Jonathan Smith 34 days ago

Appraisal concerns a meeting of that type between an employee and the director of the company. Initially amicable and routine, the appraisal becomes darker and more challenging after it becomes apparent that both parties want different things from it, leading to some changes of direction near the end. I didn't find the director or the narrative entirely convincing but enjoyed the show overall.

Mark Mesarch 34 days ago

Really like the show and could relate the dutiful worker who would rather do a good job than climb the promotional ladder. Totally get the ways of misunderstanding of written and even verbal dialogue, but can see how it slows down the workflow when required to "choose you words carefully." What happen to the tough skin. Saw the penultimate ending coming from the beginning but enjoyed the delivery. Would love to see the show taken on with reverse of the roles of the sexes. Would it work the same? And yes it does happen that way too. Bravo.

Angela Caulder 35 days ago

Slick production, well rehearsed with good actors. Writing and themes rather one dimensional and predictable. 3.5 stars.

Dave 38 days ago

Fantastic acting bad about the author and the appraisee. We saw it last year and enjoyed it so much we came again. A five star production. Please go and see it.,

Chris Gilbert 39 days ago

There’s no doubt a rich vein of humour, and drama - even absurdity perhaps - in the power politics of the annual performance review, familiar to just about anyone who has ever worked in an office. For some it is an awkward dance where no one quite knows the steps. For many it is an unnecessary evil to be endured rather than embraced. In trying to mine this vein, Appraisal gives us a bit of both with a rather cliched set-up in which a middle aged, golf-playing, philandering boss lords it over his younger, female employee. It feels like a lazy trope and it mostly plays out as you expect it to with only a very slight attempt to balance the scales and introduce a bit of moral ambiguity on the other side of the power dynamic.

When I saw Appraisal I thought it unfolded in an uninspired and uninspiring way Lazy laughs at modern HR practices (is it really so bad if the boss wants to have a ‘conversation’ rather than an appraisal?), and one-note performances from the actors. To be fair, a friend went two days later and praised the acting so maybe I caught them on on off day.

I always feel bad about not liking an Edinburgh show as I know how much work has gone in to simply get it in front of an audience. I wish them well but it simply didn’t work for me.

David Evans-Powell 39 days ago

Great two hander, a wicked little comedy about workplace manipulation and spite. Definitely worth your time

G Clark 40 days ago

Well written, so well performed and so true to life. We felt it warranted at least **** and would highly recommend it.

Andrew Lovett 41 days ago

This show could have been better. The male actor didn’t deliver his lines with much passion and very little humour and yet had the better lines of the two. The female actor was better, but I am not sure that it was great writing so whilst she tried, the content was against her. The idea of the play was good, which is the reason we opted to go, but sadly it was just a bit flat, a bit dull. I wouldn’t recommend this.

Gillian Duckworth 42 days ago

If you’ve ever had an appraisal (or PDR (professional development review) as I knew it) then this is the show for you - the actors are in a tussle of give and take, control and submission, but who comes out on top? Can recommend the show- it’s well worth your time and the entrance fee

Ophelia 43 days ago

Very solid. Great performances and fantastic pace and tension. A good time all round

Shirley H 45 days ago

Jo tries to exercise coercive control over Nicky but she has anticipated his behaviour and come fully prepared. Jo's bumbling mistakes with words are funny but cannot mask his true intentions. His original description of his sock choice becomes a metaphor for his behaviour. Sadly a still all too common place scenario at work today. Tremendous script (written by Tim Marriott) and acting by both Tim and Angela Bull. Witty, funny, sinister. 5*

Linda McAtee 49 days ago

The tension builds slowly in this funny, dramatic experience of one woman's work appraisal by her seemingly professional, but increasingly manipulative boss. Well written, well acted, well worth seeing.

Mark R 49 days ago

I liked it. A good smattering of humour from the actors delivery with a bit of underlying tension from the central relatable premise. The plot is well suited to the short play format and both actors gave a fantastic performance.

adam levitt 50 days ago

The Appraisal was totally absorbing and showed how corrosive work-place manipulation is - but all done very amusingly.

Thomas 51 days ago

A solid two-hander -- and anybody who's lived through performance appraisals (on either side of the desk) can appreciate the awkwardness and the absurdity built into the encounter. The dramatic beats come at regular intervals--if anything, the structure is perhaps a little *too* tidy. Good performances.

Denise McCann 52 days ago

Acting was great, the storyline kept you interested. My only criticism is that it was far too realistic, I think lots of people in the room had experienced bosses and meetings like this. My 16 year old daughter agreed, it should’ve been more juicy - what actually happened at the Christmas night out anyway???

Kerry Kimber 52 days ago

Brilliantly observed and insightful show.

Performances are excellent - Angela Bull portrays a hard working ‘no nonsense’ department manager who just wants to be allowed to get on with her job, and Tim Marriott plays her unlikeable boss, brilliantly conveying bumbling ineffectiveness.

The story arc is unexpected and entertaining, including laugh out loud moments, twists and turns.

I went with my teenage daughter - we both really enjoyed it and would highly recommend.

Kathleen Noonan 53 days ago

Probably more true to life than we'd like to admit. This annual review, full of corporate jargon and acronyms made me laugh. Just when I thought the end was disappointing ...... came the last lines.

Wilfred 53 days ago

5 stars
Another excellent Tim Marriott play. A yearly work evaluation slowly spirals out of control. I've seldom watched a more realistic play having sat through several of such horrendous interviews myself.

Tim Marriott was excellent (as always), but even he was surpassed by the powerful performance by Angela Bull. Highly enjoyable!

Tom SC 54 days ago

Not impressed. The male lead was disappointing - showing little to no emotion and messibf up his lines several times, having to quickly correct himself. You might enjoy it more if you've worked in an office role for over a decade and as a manager.

Sean Davis 54 days ago

Appraisal (*****)
When the competent head of a department meets with her pedantic HR supervisor for her yearly review, the meeting does not go as she expected. The meeting evolves at a properly slow pace that demonstrates her strengths and his weaknesses. I must admit that part of my enjoyment of the play derived from her catching him lying and misspeaking.

This is the third most enjoyable of the 28 shows I have seen so far at the Fringe this year. I hope to see almost 200. You may see my other three-sentence reviews, in order from most enjoyable to worst, at my non-commercial website:

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Darkchat (4/5 stars) 38 days ago

Absolutely gripping and occasionally very funny

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Everything Theatre (4/5 stars) 44 days ago

Timothy Marriott’s self-penned play is a masterclass in gaslighting and a masterpiece of manipulation.

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One4Review (4/5 stars) 52 days ago

Anyone who has ever had to face an appraisal will enjoy this romp through workplace politics.

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Líam Rudden Media (4/5 stars) 52 days ago

Recognisable and authentic, The Appraisal is a deftly crafted word play and a thoughtful yet laugh out loud start to a day at the Fringe.

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