The Vicar of Dibley

Date 19th May 2023
Society Wallasey Musical Theatre Company
Venue Mosslands High School
Type of Production Comedy
Director Sarah-Kay Maylor
Producer Sarah-Kay Maylor
Written By Ian Gower and Paul Carpenter

Report

Author: Jenny King

The Vicar of Dibley

Wallasey Musical Theatre Company

19/5/23

This is the first time that I have seen the stage version of ‘Vicar of Dibley’ and it proved to be a very enjoyable evening. The play portrayed all the themes from the TV series, from the introduction of the new vicar to the wedding of Alice and Hugo.

The show was set on three levels, the Parish meeting room was on rostra on the floor of the main hall, the area in front of the closed black tabs on the apron of the stage was the general meeting place, while the back part of the stage portrayed the inside of the vicarage. This worked well, allowing for the changes of scene to work easily.

The play begins with the usual theme tune “The Lord is my Shephard” leading into the Parish meeting announcing the death of the previous vicar and the imminent arrival of the new vicar.

Every character on the Parish Committee had been well thought out, led by the pompous David Horton, portrayed really well by Kevin Fishwick. He always has to be right in his inimitable manner - other members idea’s immediately shut down. His son Hugo well characterised by Matt Harvey, was totally under the thumb of his father, afraid to have an opinion of his own. Matt was believable in this role, while hiding his feelings for Alice Tinker, and fantasies about several well-known ladies.

Alice was played by Millie Harvey, becoming the ‘not of this world’ totally ditzy blonde, often misunderstanding what was going on around her. Millie (Alice) was truly eccentric, not able to see the humour in jokes, living in her own world, creating her totally individual wedding dress complete with flashing lights. Her scenes with the vicar were excellent, especially when Geraldine was trying to get her and Hugo together.

Frank Pickle, the Parish clerk responsible for taking minutes etc, was portrayed by John Jones, his insistence of minuting every single thing, including ‘said nothing’ was very funny. The other two members of the committee were Jim Toft an excellent performance from James Bennet, his ‘no-no-no yes” stutter was hilarious and never overdone, while Johnathan Harvey as Owen Newitt, the local farmer obsessed with telling one and all his bowel movements, while secretly lusting after Geraldine, was totally brilliant in this role.

The eccentric Letitia Cropley, together with her knitting, was delightfully played by Kath Kennedy, her wonderful cake creations were a delight.  The two children Katie played by Florence Rylance and Luke played by Clark Arnson were only on stage for a short time but both of them spoke really clearly, every word could be heard - well done.

Finally, the Vicar of Dibley herself, played by Sarah-Jane Aston, from the moment she entered the Parish meeting as the new vicar she was totally in charge. There were some fabulous Geraldine moments - giving up chocolate for Lent - getting Alice and Hugo together - finally the proposal of marriage from Owen - really well done, Sarah Jane.

I enjoyed the whole performance, every character was believable and the audience really enjoyed the performance, shown by the cheers and applause at the end of the show. Both the sound and lighting were good, all the dialogue was clear and could be followed easily.

My only, and very tiny criticism, was the getting up and down from the rostra at the front, it was a little noisy. Perhaps rubber mats on the steps might have helped - plus a little lighting on the steps so the actors could see where they were going.

However, a huge well done to you all it was an extremely entertaining production enjoyed by all.

Thank you for inviting me

Jenny King.