AN effervescent, hilarious and big-hearted tale about women taking action – and sacks of spuds on shoulders – makes its WA premiere at Melville Theatre this February.
Written by Australian radio broadcaster, playwright and author Melanie Tait and directed by Michelle Ezzy, The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race is inspired by real-life events in a comedy where five women challenge the prize difference at the annual event.
Men compete for $1000 but the women’s race only offers $200, something new GP Penny Anderson is determined to change to bring the town of Appleton into the 21st century.
“The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race is a brilliantly witty Australian comedy that will have you laughing but also reflecting on the imperfections of our society,” Michelle said.
“Melanie Tait’s writing pitches big city progressive thinking against small town conservative values in a loving critique of Australian identity.
“There is plenty of witty banter from the sassy and incredibly intelligent characters, which gives the show a truly Australian essence.
“I love how real and flawed the characters are and I think people will be able to see people from their own lives in them.”
Michelle began directing in 2016 after taking up a position as music and theatre educator at John Curtin College of the Arts and has worked on numerous productions at the school as a director, vocal coach and choreographer.
But Michelle’s theatre journey originally began as a trumpet player, playing in pit orchestras for the musicals Hairspray, The Phantom of the Opera, Oliver!, Mary Poppins and The Pirates of Penzance.
Stepping up to the stage in 2017, she has since appeared with Roleystone, Agelink, Marloo, Melville and Alexandra Theatres in Oklahoma!, Mort, Robin Hood: The Truth Behind the Green Tights, Lords and Ladies, Between Wind and Water, 1916: A Love Story, Sense and Sensibility, Monstrous Regiment, The Producers and Hogfather.
Other productions with Michelle as director at the helm have included Secret Bridesmaids’ Business at Roleystone Theatre, Harry’s Bounty at Marloo Theatre and Emilie La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight through her independent theatre company Anatomical Heart Productions.
Every show has it challenges but The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race has given Michelle one slightly different to the norm.
“I need to be sure I can source enough potatoes!” she laughed.
The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race plays at 8pm February 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26 with a 2pm matinee February 20. Tickets are $23, $18 concession – book at www.TAZTix.com.au.
Note: the production has some nudity and coarse language.
Melville Theatre is at 393A Canning Highway (corner of Stock Road), Palmyra.
*Note to subs: Chhapia – with two h’s – is the correct spelling below
appleton 1: Valerie Henry, left, Kate O’Sullivan, Kayti Murphy, Neha Chhapia and Lis Hoffmann are appearing in The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race. Picture: Alan Gill
appleton2: Nikki (Kayti Murphy, left) and Rania (Neha Chhapia) running the potato race. Picture: Alan Gill
appleton3: Barb (Valerie Henry, left) and Bev (Lis Hoffmann) at the potato race. Picture: Alan Gill
appleton4: The Appleton ladies – Nikki (Kayti Murphy, left), Rania (Neha Chhapia), Bev (Lis Hoffmann), Barb (Valerie Henry) and Dr Penny Anderson (Kate O’Sullivan) – enjoying a beverage. Picture: Alan Gill
The Melville Theatre Company was the brainchild of David J. Burton who, in 1982, called a meeting for interested people in the community to form a theatre company in the Melville area.
As a result, the Melville Theatre Company was born. The newly formed company's first production was the farce, Not Now Darling. With its second production, The Sound of Music, the young company won the Finley Award for the best production of the year. Since then, actors and directors have consistently featured in the list of awards at the annual State Drama Festival.
Initially, performances were in the Melville Civic Centre but, since 1987, the venue has been the Roy Edinger Centre, 393A Canning Highway (corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway), Palmyra.
P: 0478 519 560