A freelance writer and traveller who likes to explore the spiritual, literary and hidden gems of Adelaide and beyond.
There’s more than one way to win a race
South Australia is very fortunate to be hosting live theatre productions and is turning out in force for live theatre. The latest production by the State Theatre Company is well worth attending to experience a well-timed 90 minutes of songs, drama and laughs.
The Appleton Ladies' Potato Race takes on life in a small country town. Where grudges are long-held, and change happens very slowly. Writer Melanie Tait has crafted a story based on real-life events where one person starts a crusade to make the women's prize money on par with the men in the country show potato race.
Anna Steen (Penny) and Susie Youssef (Rania). Photo - McCammon
The scene is set where Penny returns to her hometown as a successful doctor. She was always made to feel like the odd one out growing up and this continues on her return, in one scene she is paid out for having the temerity to be a vegetarian. The town has a refugee named Rania who is valiantly trying to fit in but eventually sides with Penny to campaign for equality in the race prize money. Nikki is the battler who stayed in the country town to marry and have four children while working several jobs to pay the bills. We hear from the only two organisers left standing for the Appleton Show, Barb and Bev. The embattled volunteers plot is an echo from another fine recent Australian play Euphoria, where much has to be done with very little.
Carmel Johnson (Bev), Anna Steen (Penny) and Sarah Brokensha (Nikki) Photo - Matt Byrne
The set places the audience in a rural Australian setting with handcrafted quilts, rustic corrugated iron and an old farm gate. The cast is female, energetic and full of banter. The underlying themes are about marginalisation, inequality, social media and exclusion, loneliness, and racism.
Director Elena Carapetis says in the program that The Appleton Ladies' Potato Race is a love letter to her hometown, to women, and ….to the potato. The humble spud is celebrated here in this down to earth Australian country town. These 'Ladies' are endearing and wry as they grapple with family challenges, entrenched small-town politics, traditions, isolation and simmering jealousy.
The Appleton Ladies' Potato Race is a delicious country romp that audiences will identify with. It has a great blend of characters with comic timing, sass and charm. The old Royalty Theatre really fits the era of this show. Now showing until June 19.