Review: Vicar of Dibley by the Harlow Theatre Company

Entertainment / Thu 27th Apr 2023 at 04:17pm

IT says something about the reputation of the Harlow Theatre Company HTC) that they have already sold out all five performances of the Vicar of Dibley at the Victoria Hall Theatre.

A packed theatre was in for a treat as they enjoyed the show made famous by Dawn French and the cast in the nineties.

Some may feel it is an easy win and maybe it is but on the other hand you are on a hiding to nothing with the Vicar of Dibley.

Pick an obscure play and on most occasions, the only way is up.

One of the other challenges is that, apart from the love story between Alice and Hugo, it is less of a play and more of a series of vignettes. There is not an awful lot of narrative arc to follow.

But what you enjoy from this play is the individual performances and how well they perform.

Jess Ricketts truly comes into her own in the second half. It starts with the ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter” and moves on up from there. Jess is just a joy.

Funnily enough the role of Geraldine Granger is harder than it looks as you really need to be the foil. The straight woman around everyone else. Helga Dove does this magnificently. She is on stage nearly all the time but really is the glue that keeps the show together.

You could probably say the same of Clive Weatherley as David Horton, who, once again, gives one of his very assured performances.

That leaves room for the scene steal characters of Jim Trott (Danny Gleeson) and Owen Newitt (Ian Stacey). Ian really grows into the role in the secodn half. In many ways his character grows from a series of “sorry I’m late but..” to really pleasing scenes”

Danny Gleeson just plays Jim for all the No’s he can.

Finally, Concetta Clarizio (Letitia Cropley), Dave Wright (Frank Pickle) and Dan Ricketts (Hugo Horton) whilst not exactly playing straight characters, played vital roles as part of the ensemble.

There was a sizeable production team behind this performance which once again pays testament to the hard work that all at HTC put in.

We even like the fact that as part fo their research they spoke to a number of female clergy including Rev Jokey Poyntz. Because if you ever meet the wonderful Jokey she is a lot like Geraldine Granger. Or may be it is the other way round.

The audiences over the next few days will no doubt enjoy this as much as the Victoria Hall Theatre audience did.

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3 Comments for Review: Vicar of Dibley by the Harlow Theatre Company:

Alan Hall
2023-04-27 19:58:38

Have got a ticket for Friday night and looking forward to it. Will be interesting to see if there are lots of Xmas dinners and/or deep puddles !

Karen Herbert
2023-04-28 14:27:37

I when on the First Night it was a joy to behold and HTC did us proud.

Dean Doyles.
2023-04-28 17:27:20

Fantastic performances from all of the cast. Absolutely loved it. At the end when David Houghton said ‘Please stay!’ to Geraldine was such an emotional moment. Also a very cleverly designed set. Jess Ricketts is a real talent!

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