What if you were offered a lump sum instead of your pension, in exchange for your life? Take the deal and, at seventy seven, your life ends but a large sum of money is given to someone of your choosing. Assessment looks at this philosophical question and comes to the conclusion that the decision isn’t quite as straightforward as you might think.

This is the proposition made to seventy seven year old Alan McDonald (Stephen Clyde). His daughter (Karen Bartke) is struggling to stay afloat and he’s a drain on society – or so he’s told. Exploring the monetary implications pensions and the rising living age has on society, Assessment considers the problem with pensions while showing the consequences this can have on individual families, creating an interesting debate in the minds of the audience. Their solution? Kill off the old. A concept that, while a little exaggerated, is cleverly sold by the character of the salesman, Amrit Roy (Taqi Nazeer).

Assessment’s main strength lies in the convincing performances from the cast as a whole, with Bartke a particular standout, bringing an empathetic, emotional element to her character. However, with such a plethora of socially active theatre on the menu this Fringe, Assessment doesn’t quite deliver on impact and, at times, the plot feels dragged out.

Despite this, the strong, intriguing concept and relevant plot make it worth a viewing, and it’s sure to get you thinking.

Words: Nastassia Sutherland

Assessment, Gilded Balloon at Rose Theatre, Aug 12-28 (not 15), 2.30pm

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