The Vicar of Dibley

Date 13th September 2013
Society Idle & Thackley Theatre Group
Venue The Little Theatre, Idle, Bradford
Type of Production Play
Director Sara Devitt
Choreographer Emma Burton


Author: Judith Smith

This adaptation for the stage of many of the well known moments from that favourite of television series was well adjusted and exceptionally well staged to fit the small playing area of this theatre.  The action taking place over several months, the four different settings were well defined and lit, especially the Church window, and were complemented with suitable props, even down to the flower displays in the Church containing a pineapple and celery stalks.

This play was cleverly cast and portrayed by this small but talented company, who displayed all the easily recognisable traits from their TV characters without trying to be a definite impersonation of them.  The bouncy, dizzy, innocent empty headedness of Alice (Emma Burton) with her growing and reciprocated admiration of the equally empty headed gangling Hugo Horton (Paul Cross), Letitia’s vacant but caring attitude towards her colleagues with her inedible concoctions worked very well with the boring Frank Pickle and ‘no-no-no’ Jim Trott (Anne Bateson, Ben Whitney, Bob Cochrane).  Liam Hunter obviously was in his element very competently playing the rough and vulgar Owen whilst the whole thing was very capably held together by Alyson Hunter as Geraldine - the Vicar herself, whose facial expressions during ‘The Mirror’ ballet scene were a delight to behold.  Special mention must go to Ian Knight, who took over the onerous role of the objectionable David Horton with only very short notice (following the sudden severe illness of the actor originally cast) and although on several occasions references had to be made to his well disguised script in hand, these did not detract from either his portrayal or the flow of the action.

My only adverse criticism of the evening was that, as the audience was just really getting into and enjoying a scene, it frequently ended and was interrupted by a seemingly quite long black-out depicting the change of scene and, although these were mostly accompanied by appropriate music, they rather spoilt the flow of the play but that well illustrates the difference between performing on stage and the seamless editing for TV.  Well done Jonathan Knight who was in sole charge of both the lighting and sound board.  I wouldn’t like to hazard a guess as to how many cues you dealt with.  Nevertheless, a very entertaining evening was enjoyed by the packed house audience showing their appreciation with many laughs and prolonged applause.