Review: Sitcom re-created convincingly

The Vicar of Dibley the popular BBC award-winning series which screened from 1994-2007, starred comedian Dawn French as Rev Geraldine Granger, and a cast of unforgettable characters as parish council members of Dibley's Church of St Barnabus.

The Taieri Dramatic Society is staging a two-hour reproduction in Coronation Hall, Mosgiel.

The play falls neatly into three acts; the "shock horror'' arrival of the new female vicar, the village's 650th anniversary celebration on live local radio, and fundraising for restoration of the church's stained glass window.

So many of the audience, being fans of the TV series (reruns too!), were amazed to find this local production cast with "look and sound-alikes'', ensuring immediate connection with familiar characters.

Accents, mannerisms and authentic costuming deserve full marks, as storylines, naughty innuendos and silliness played out convincingly with astute dramatic timing.

Debbie Webster was outstanding in the huge role of vicar, obviously having studied French's body language and delivery, and her verger, Alice Tinker (Anne-Marie Amende), also meticulously duplicated her BBC counterpart with delightful childlike innocence and endearing ways.

Detailed sets included a church interior with magnificent stained glass window, vicarage living-room and office and a council meeting room.

All were vital to the success of the show, but numerous changes with dimmed lights, although fast and smoothly executed, accompanied by orchestrated English County Gardens , were tedious at times when we are so used to instant TV scene changes.

Gloria Reid and Geoff Smith directed the production and other roles were played by: Campbell Thomson (playing David Horton MBE), Don Galog (Frank Pickle), Keith Richardson (Tim Trott), Don Donner (Owen Newitt), Mark Willis (Hugo Horton), Shirley Graham (Letitia Cropley), Doug Leggett (Daniel Frobisher) and Brian McCormack (Rev Pottle).

The season continues until May 21 and if you were a fan of the TV series, this is great entertainment for you.

- Elizabeth Bouman 

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