Review: Appraisal

A darkly funny and vibrant play which questions power dynamics and office conventions

theatre review (adelaide) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Appraisal image courtesy of Belinda Redman
Published 28 Feb 2024

Appraisal is a witty and satirical take on the common corporate promise of fairness and equality. It follows Nicky’s (Stefanie Rossi) annual employee review, with her manager (Tim Marriott), slowly spiral into the nightmarish image everyone has before going into their own review: if something can backfire, it backfires.

The show uses its dark and sarcastic humour to play with common power dynamics, and to question the validity of modern office conventions made to avoid abuse of power. Appraisal doesn’t question the intelligence of its audience; the jokes are quick-fire and come with no explanation, but the setting and context leaves no viewer out.

The delivery from both Rossi and Marriott is succinct and engaging, and the pair bounce off each other with a smooth comedic harmony. While on a surface level, the show simply is an appraisal, the questions it provokes reveal just how multidimensional it is. Where is the line, and what does crossing it look like for the everyday officer worker? In what ways have our modern technologies created harm where they were intended to create good? The moments in which the dialogue stumbles are few, and for a performance showcasing one meeting between two people, its vibrancy fills the stage. Appraisal is a darkly funny and introspective piece on one of the most relatable events in the modern world.


Appraisal, Ayers House and Goodwood Theatre, until 16 March