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Brisbane review - The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race: a warm and fuzzy feeling

By Nahima Abraham

The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race

Written by Melanie Tait

Directed by Priscilla Jackman

Presented by Queensland Theatre

Bille Brown Theatre

78 Montague Rd, South Brisbane

Season runs until October 28. Run time: 190 mins without interval.

Photo © Brett Boardman

It is quite rare for spectacles like music, theatre, opera, and dance to feel familiar and welcoming the second you walk into the space. Often, it feels alienating and cool, sometimes the stage is elevated, sometimes not.

The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race welcomed the audience in with open arms, like a mother stretching out for a hug when you come back to your hometown. The warm embrace lingers and the tumultuous feelings of seeing loved ones again, soar.

The familiar nature of the characters, Nikki (Rachel Gordon), Rania (Natassia Halabi), Bev (Barbara Lowing), Barb (Valerie Bader) and Penny (Libby Munro) reeled the audience in with love and tenderness. There were moments, the audience smiled, there were moments the audience almost screamed with laughter, and there were moments the audience was silent, watchful. This play brought the audience to attention, gripping and bringing them along for the ride.

Then, as the Potato Race ended, as humble and as warm as a potato bake, it let the audience leave with a warm and fuzzy feeling.

The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race was an innovation in automation, with moving parts to the stage and set wowing the audience. Michael Scott-Mitchell is to thank for the top notch set design. Leigh Buchanan, Costume Designer, let the audience into the quaint and charming world of Appleton with hints and suggestions within the costumes that let the audience know the characters before they had even uttered a word.

This was the ultimate story of the underdog. The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race told the story of women, for all women with a grace and ease that just felt right. It is an important story, a story that must be seen as far and as wide as possible, by everyone. The messages of the story, the characters, and audience all met with an explosion of love. Look no further than Queensland Theatre for this season of the Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race.


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