Intriguing and sharp, Jordi Galceran’s play asks just how far you would go to get the job that you want and at what cost with mesmerising effect.
What has been your most difficult job interview ever? Well whatever happened can’t have been any worse than what occurs in this intriguing psychological play that pits four very different candidates against each other by setting a variety of tasks that test their stamina and how far they would go to get the job.
The Gronholm Method is a carefully thought out play by Jordi Galceran that beautifully amps up the tension as more about each candidate is revealed, showcasing the power struggle at play between all of the characters leading to a number of confrontations throughout, leaving the audience wondering who to trust. Filled with aggression, it effectively brings the audience into the bizarre interview by throwing a lot of twists and turns along the way – particularly towards the end that leaves them attempting to second guess what the motives of each character is and can any of them outwit the others?
BT McNicholl’s production is simplistic in style, but with a sharp edge to it as the candidates grow increasingly nasty to each other as highlighted during the moment in which a candidate is revealed to want a sex change. But McNicholl ensures to break up the tension and intrigue by making the most of the moments of humour to be found in the play that highlights the different aspects of the characters well. The sharpness of the play is also enhanced by Tim Hatley’s stylish and contemporary office setting that makes the audience feel as though they are watching an experiment taking place in a laboratory and not sure what explosion is going to take place.
What the production also does well is the way in which it brings focus to the issues that the play rises including attitudes in the work place towards transgender people, the appropriate level of empathy to show in work place and what it takes to be a leader. It gets the audience questioning about what they would do if they were in a similar situation – a point driven home by the final surprise twist at the end which leaves the audience almost on a cliffhanger and with no real conclusion.
While the twists get you realising that not everybody is who they say they are at the beginning, they also mean that the production can get a little bit muddled and leaving the audience quite bemused about what the whole point of carrying out the interview in this way was as no real message emerges from the play.
Performance wise, there are some very sharply delivered characters. Jonathan Cake is particularly convincing as the nasty, power hungry and arrogant Frank, delivering his lines with plenty of bite that makes the audiences sit up and pay attention. Laura Pitt-Pulford is also a strong personality as Melanie – bold, confident and stubborn even when a family crisis emerges. It is a deeply layered performance that on the surface reveals a character who is cold and calculating, but underneath is actually methodical with just enough empathy to make it believable. Meanwhile ,Greg McHugh as the sensible and one of the most likeable characters and Jonathan Gordon Sinclair as Rick both provide strong support.
It is an intriguing play that perhaps needs to emphasise its message clearer by dispensing of one or two of the surprises along the way but this production makes for fascinating viewing.
By Emma Clarendon
The Gronholm Method will continue to play at the Menier Chocolate Factory until the 7th July. For more information visit: https://www.menierchocolatefactory.com/