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The Vicar of Dibley reviewed by Christopher Lloyd-Pack

The Vicar of Dibley reviewed by Christopher Lloyd-PackThose of us who know and love the television comedy The Vicar of Dibley might have had some reservations about a stage play with the same loved characters. Well, those of you who missed it, missed it! This was something unexpectedly wonderful!

Who would have thought that here in the Algarve we would meet such carefully studied representations of those beloved folk – Thank you The Algarveans Experimental Theatre - the casting was excellent. I felt that I was at home watching an episode on the television!

From the moment I walked into the Lagoa Auditorium and saw the little table with the candle and the two chairs set in front of the curtain, I became excited - we will have an epilogue scene!

The house lights went down – a bit sudden on this occasion – the Western Algarve Community Choir started to sing, and beautiful it was with lovely harmonies and choice hymns throughout, covering the many scene changes.
The curtains opened revealing the two main sets – the Parish Hall and the sitting room of the Vicarage, both perfectly recreated from the tv series.

The arrival of the new VicarThe first scene in the Parish Hall introduced us to the main characters and set the plot – David Horton informing the members of the Parish Council about the imminent arrival of the new Vicar. The scene was played with firmness, confidence and great energy and the audience relaxed, laughed in the right places and knew they were in for a good night! We felt we were part of the village of Dibley!

The writers, Ian Gower and Paul Carpenter have selected some of the best loved moments from the tv series and linked them together to make a wonderful comedic evening. The shocked reactions at the arrival of the new Vicar, Geraldine, because she was a woman, the ‘no no no, yes’ of Jim Trott, the imbecilic Frank Pickle, the awful snacks provided by Letitia Cropley, the outrageous kiss between Owen and Geraldine, the unfurling romance between Alice and David Harton’s son, Hugo leading to their fairy tale wedding and the hilarious epilogue scene, all classic moments from the series.

Melanie Winstanley’s direction ensured that each and every member of the cast gave wonderful portrayals of the characters and, despite a couple of moments when the energy flagged - may they be forgiven – this was a most impressive and well performed piece and only a shame it was on for three performances only.

I am sure my brother Roger Lloyd Pack, who created the character Owen Newitt, would have been delighted by this performance. He loved The Vicar of Dibley and had a lot of fun playing this character!

The cast of The Vicar of Dibley, 2018 

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