The Noarlunga Theatre Company production of The Vicar Of Dibley ,A Christmas Special is adapted from the original iconic TV series by Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Carter, and is written by Ian Gower and Paul Carter.
This second adaptation with the quirky Dibley characters, was chosen following the immensely popular first production last year, and is a sequel to that play.
Director Linda Lawson chose for her cast to “channel” the TV performers, much to the delight of the crowded first night audience.
It passes that Dibley has nothing planned to celebrate Christmas in the village which is fast-approaching, and the pregnant Alice just back home from her honeymoon away, has come up with the only sensible idea she has ever had in her life, the clever little thing.
The fun of this quaint piece depends on two things.The sharp, witty and often smutty humour found in the brief, frequently-changing 25 scenes, and also in the accuracy that each actor gives to his role as a tribute to the original in the television series.
Designer Stephen Popowski had to work within the narrow confines of the Arts Centre stage, but came up with a split set representing the Vicarage and the cold, austere Village Hall, where most of the 25 scenes are set. The design has some issues which, from time to time provides awkward exits, entrances and stage movement.
Deirdre Quinn (The Vicar) was instantly recognised, and played her pivotal role with energy impish wit and warmth. She was as up to date as a Vicar could (should?) be.Village Chairman David Horton was played by Stephen Popowski with authority showing his disgust and rudeness with his new daughter-in-law. His speech often needed a little more upper crust edge. John Martin played the rather depraved farmer Owen Newitt with great pleasure and his Elvis impersonation was a show stopper. Tim Cousins did “No,no,no…Yes” Jim Trott cleverly and accurately, and Barbara Henshaw (Letitia Cropley)with her tuneless singing and tasteless cooking provided many laughs. Jeff Penter was suitably brow- beaten as Hugo, son of David Horton. George Kemp kept the committee minutes with pedantic correctness and tedium. However the standout performer of the night was Helen Lane who played the nutty as a fruitcake Verger Alice Horton (neeTinker) with a tremendous sense of deliberate silliness and fun. She occasionally overplayed, but her accent and timing were spot-on.
Eden and Reuben Lane played the Angels in the frantic, funny last scene with Daniel Steele appearing as the Vet.
Director Lawson focussed on ensemble playing for her cast, which of course was a tribute to the original television series.A Vicar of Dibley Christmas – The Second Coming
Noarlunga Theatre Company
The Arts Centre
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