The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race at Melville Theatre, Western Australia

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

Note: the production has some nudity and coarse language

Melville Theatre is at 393A Canning Highway (corner of Stock Road), Palmyra.