AUDIENCES are being transported to the village of Dibley at Redditch’s Palace Theatre by All and Sundry which is performing a stage version of the hit BBC TV series.
In 2004 The Vicar of Dibley, which ran for six years – 13 if you count specials, was voted the nation’s third favourite sitcom and watching this production you can see why.
The great thing about it is that each of the episodes – Arrival, The Window and the Weather and The Easter Bunny – whilst packed full of great comedy and as charismatic characters as you could wish to meet, also have some very moving moments too.
After seeing it on the small screen it takes some getting used to to see different actors undertaking the roles, but once past that, All and Sundry’s cast provides some great entertainment.
Vicar Geraldine Grainger was played by Dawn French – big shoes to fill – but Catherine Tabberner certainly rose to the challenge in the role. Her endearing and lovable portrayal was perfectly pitched which made this production the homely and heart-warming theatre it was written to be.
The script is of course its main strength, but it needs an equally strong cast to deliver it and the cast did a great job to do Richard Curtis and Phil Mayhew-Archer’s writing justice.
There were solid performances across the board, with Graham Forbes impressing as the uppity and righteous David Horton and Ken Messenger was equally as good as uncouth farmer Owen Newitt.
Emma Hay also shone as dippy verger Alice Tinker and the comedy chemistry between her and the vicar, especially in the scenes at the end of each episode that the programme became well-known for, was a joy to watch.
The music chosen for the scene changes was clever and equally comedic, although those stage alterations could do with being quicker to prevent the pace of the piece from slowing.
It was also a nice touch to get a local choir – from St Mary de Wych in Wychbold – to provide the hymn-singing soundtrack.
Overall this is a production well worth watching and God bless those who go to see it.
Performances take place at 7.30pm from Wednesday (March 19) to Saturday (March 22) and tickets, available at www.redditchpalacetheatre.co.uk or by calling 01527 65203 are £12.75 and £11.75 (concessions).
Tickets for the Saturday matinee, which starts at 2.30pm, are £11.75 and £10.75 (concessions).