Review: The Vicar of Dibley
Unless you've spent the last twenty years as a hermit, you don't need me to introduce you to The Vicar of Dibley. Knowing that you're going to see a stage version of it at the Retford Little Theatre, though, might give some cause for trepidation. After all, this is a popular show with established characters and you sense it just won't be the same…
And it isn't. But it comes very close. The characters are played surprisingly like we've come to expect. Of particular note (and I think making her debut at RLT) was Lesley Harris's dippy Alice. Julian Roberts's hapless Hugo and Frank Stamp's socially awkward and foul-mouthed Owen also stood out as being very similar to their TV counterparts.
That's not to suggest any of the other cast members were anything less than excellent. It's rare to see an opening night where everything comes together so well – including the contributions from Youth Theatre members.
The only potential issue was when occasional lines were delivered while the audience were still laughing. It didn't spoil anything, but meant we couldn't hear them clearly.
The action takes place in various settings around the village, and the changes of scene flow smoothly. This was helped by clever lighting, but was largely down to the earmarked sections for different locations. The set design artfully contrasted the homely vicarage and the utilitarian village hall even though they were inches apart.
With a vestry tucked neatly to one side, and stained glass windows symbolically overlooking everything, the set created just the right atmosphere.
For several reasons – not least being the large cast and the fact that Dibley is a "known" quantity – this was a challenging play to put on, so all credit to Donnamarie Stamp for casting well and pulling the whole thing together so successfully.
The Vicar of Dibley was "feel good" TV, and this stage production captured the essence of it very well. Judging by the laughter during the performance and comments overheard in the interval, this was a view widely shared.
|Our Current Production
THE VICAR OF DIBLEY
Friday 20th to Saturday 28th May 2016, 7:30pm
When their elderly vicar passes away, congregation members in Dibley are surprised to find that a woman has been assigned to their parish. And not just any woman - Geraldine Granger is outgoing, vivacious and fun-loving, as well as caring and committed to her flock. Hilarity ensues as Geraldine tries to win over the stodgy council members while staying true to herself and her pastorate.
Click here for further information.
The Season Brochure for the forthcoming 2015-2016 season of plays is now available.
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