The Vicar of Dibley
A stage play by IAN GOWER and PAUL CARPENTER
adapted from the original TV series by RICHARD CURTIS
and PAUL MAYHEW-ARCHER.
With kind permission of TIGER ASPECT PRODUCTIONS
Directed by: Louisa Asquith
Production Dates: 27th – 29th September 2018
Our September production this year is based on the much-loved TV comedy, “The Vicar of Dibley”. All your favourite characters from the hugely popular series – Alice, Hugo, Owen, Jim, David and of course Geraldine – will be on stage to bring you an evening of fun and laughter.
The ancient old vicar of Dibley has passed on and parishioners are horrified to learn that the Bishop has appointed a woman in his place. As Geraldine battles to win over the sceptical parish council, the villagers (with the exception of influential David Horton) gradually learn to accept her as The Vicar of Dibley.
This show brings together some of the best loved moments from the TV series and links them to make a wonderful evening of comedy, culminating in a fairy-tale wedding.
Performances are in Bishopstoke Memorial Hall from Thursday 27th to Saturday 29th September 2018 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £8 (£6 for those aged 16 or under) and are available from www.bishopstokeplayers.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07871 006551.
“The Vicar of Dibley” has been adapted for the stage by Ian Gower and Paul Carpenter from the original TV series by Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer. With kind permission of Tiger Aspect Productions.
As with all Bishopstoke Players’ productions, proceeds will be donated to the charity Action for Children.
Scene One Plus
- Bishopstoke Players
- Bishopstoke Memorial Hall, Bishopstoke
- Ed Howson
- 27 September 2018
It presents a particularly strong challenge to bring to the stage characters and situations as well-known and well-loved as those in such TV sitcoms as Fawlty Towers and ‘Allo ‘Allo, and Bishopstoke Players took on the latest of these in the form of Ian Gower and Paul Carpenter’s adaption of The Vicar of Dibley, and for the most part a very fine job they made of it.
Knitting together some of the best-known situations, from the vicar’s first arrival in the opening scene, and culminating in Alice and Hugo’s wedding as the finale, we enjoyed all the idiosyncrasies we have come to know and love in this motley assembly of Dibley’s finest.
All the characters were brought to life in front of us, and Katie Pink, as the chocolate-loving vicar, was quite excellent, with the uncannily accurate voice and mannerisms we have come to expect from our favourite female clergy. On stage almost throughout, she ran the gamut of expressions, whether itching to get her hands on a Mars Bar, repelling amorous advances or disco-dancing at a two-person hen night. This was a terrific performance, and the sold-out first night audience was with her from the moment she stepped on stage.
As her side-kick, Jennifer Pike absolutely aced the part of Alice Tinker. Here was the lovesick verger astonishingly well recreated in her every move and intonation. We laughed with her, sympathised with her, and were overjoyed for her when she finally walked up the aisle, resplendent in illuminated head-dress and with her teletubby attendants.
All our other favourite characters were there too, led by Drew Craddock’s overbearing David Horton (though perhaps not quite overbearing enough at times), his put-upon son Hugo (a bit of a silly-ass Hugh Johnn), farmer Owen Newitt (Colin Carter with many of the best one-liners), Dale Yarney’s pedantic Parish Clerk Frank Pickle and Dave Hughes’ (‘no, no, no, no, yes!’) Jim Trott.
Director Louisa Asquith’s staging had some nice touches, too, with Geraldine’s study set separately at stage right, and the vestry on its own out at stage left, which created intimacy for the scenes played in these areas. Becky Griffin’s keyboard playing added to the atmosphere, and the excellent Gospel Phonics choir, arrayed on either side of the audience, sang the theme tune and hymns throughout.
The production worked best when allowed to flow through the longer scenes, particularly those in Act 2, where both characters and plot-lines were allowed to develop. The first act suffered somewhat by being, for the most part, a quick succession of very short scenes which broke up the rhythm of the piece, though this is a minor criticism in an otherwise particularly enjoyable evening’s entertainment by a clearly very hard-working and talented company.
society/company: Bishopstoke Players
performance date: 27 Sep 2018
venue: Bishopstoke Memorial Hall, Riverside, Bishopstoke, Eastleigh, SO50 6LQ
reviewer/s: Bob Heather
It is never easy to recreate TV sit-coms on stage with many audiences automatically thinking of the stars they are used to and, therefore, finding it difficult to watch different people in familiar roles.
Not so with Bishopstoke Players, presenting this week Ian Gower and Paul Carpenter’s The Vicar of Dibley. The majority of their cast are both great look-alikes and sound-alikes, and a brilliant job they are making of it.
The play is crafted from several episodes throughout the series, starting with the arrival of new vicar, Geraldine, through to the wedding of Alice and Hugo.
We are treated to a wonderful cast who bring all our favourite characters to life with near pin-point accuracy. It is almost like watching the original TV cast.
The show opens with the Gospel Phonics choir singing the credits as they walk down the aisle and then move to either side of the auditorium where they sing between the scenes accompanied by Becky Griffin on keyboard.
Katie Pink (Geraldine Granger – the chocoholic Vicar) is brilliant. She looks the part and sounds exactly right, with never a miss-timed line or pause throughout the whole show.
Jennifer Pike as Alice Tinker, the verger, is also spot-on, looking and sounding like the real Emma Chambers. She has every little mannerism off pat right down to the way she moves, handling and swishing her dress around. You can see her brain working as she tries to understand the vicar’s jokes, making the audience laugh with her, rather than at her.
Other cast members also play their parts very well, each becoming facsimiles to their respective TV counterparts. Pompous David Horton (Drew Craddock) is ideal, although there are times his overbearing demeanour diminishes slightly. Horton’s silly-ass son Hugo (Hugh Johnn) acts a little too dim-witted for the role at times, but still puts in a strong performance. Dale Yarney takes on nit-picking parish clerk, Frank Pickle, becoming a great foil for Craddock. Dave Hughes is excellent as “no, no, no, yes!” Jim Trott. Owen Newitt also takes on Colin Carter brilliantly, having some of the show’s best one-liners.
The whole show has been very well staged by director Louisa Asquith with some great little touches as well as co-designing the set with Jon Morgan and Angela Wallis beautifully. The main stage has become the Church hall which becomes Geraldine’s lounge for various scenes. The vestry is set on the stage-left wing and the vicar’s study on stage-right.
The show works fantastically but I personally find that scenes are much shorter, almost snippets, during the first act. This is always a problem with a script taken from a TV series. Having said that, the second act works much better because of longer scenes.
The whole show is very enjoyable, the result of a hard-working and talented theatrical society. The whole of the first night audience seemed to love the show, but did I? In the words of Jim Trott – No, no, no, no, YES!