The Vicar of Dibley

Date 20th May 2022
Society Rainham Theatrical Society (RTS Ltd)
Venue Oasthouse Theatre, Rainham
Director Helen Gaston


Author: Gordon Harris

This bloody (chink in the Lent fines box) hilarious play, adapted from the popular 1990s' TV comedy is set in the sleepy village of Dibley, where the elderly previous vicar has just died and the parish council members, led by their pompous, opinionated chairman David Horton (Steve Berry) are waiting to greet his replacement. They are not expecting anyone like Geraldine Granger, (Kathy West) a babe with a bob cut and a magnificent bosom! (is bosom a swear word?) Nevertheless, kind-hearted, fun-loving Geraldine, aided by pea-brained verger Alice Tinker (Charlotte Genty), sets out to win over the oddball members of the Parish Council of Dibley while staying true to herself.

Although female vicars are no longer considered particularly unusual nowadays, this play’s humour has remained fresh, partly thanks to the wonderfully eccentric characters who make up Geraldine’s, parishioners. Helen Gaston (Director) what a bloody (chink in the Lent fines box) brilliant cast you choose. I have seen lots of Dibleys but this is the best by far, and I don’t think I can get better. Helen you directed this Dibley with such professionalism, you have an eye and ear for perfect timing of comedy. Also moving your cast around the small stage with ease. I frigging (chink in the Lent fines box) loved the way the cast moved the set, to give us quick and easy set changes. Brilliant!! This due to a thoughtful stage manager (Ian West). I must mention the costumes (Claire Feekings) and the cast for getting it right down to such a little thing such as a button on Jim’s cardi done up sloppily in the wrong button hole. It's things like this I look for and it was abundant in this Dibley.

Geraldine’s wit, free spirit, and chocoholic’s sets about winning the hearts of all on the Parish Council, she also wins our hearts, what an actress Kathy West is, no one else could have given this part so much comedy as Kathy. Alice Tinker (Charlotte Gantry) the vicar’s new best friend, bubbly but not so bright Alice Tinker was played to perfection by Charlotte and she is in love with the equally daft Hugo Horton (Kevin Lane) perfectly portrayed stupidly as only son of influential parish councillor David Horton (Steve Berry), who fails to warm to Geraldine’s quirky appeal, this man has great facial expressions. Jim Trott (Gerald Flanagan) characterisation of the no no no no no Jim was very funny and outstanding, and played Jim with ease. The dotty Letitia Cropley (Clair Feekings) gave us the right amount of silliness. Frank Pickle (Andrew Manktelow) nice portrayal of a thick secretary and his timing was good. Now for the sex !!! Owen Newitt (Rob O’Hanlon): Rob's scenes with Geraldine were frigging (chink in the Lent fines box) hilarious, so well directed and delivered. Superb!! Clever to have the kids perform back stage: these were Oliver Crammond, Darcie Crammond, Jack Jago, Sophie Jago and Tommy O’Hanlon: well done kids and of course Jill Balderston as the women. Oh and Melody I never heard you at all.

To sum up: this Vicar of Didby is so bloody (two chinks in the Lent fines box) good, actually frigging exceptional.