THE warm-hearted Vicar of Dibley has deserted her village to visit Altrincham Little Theatre for Sale and Altrincham Musical Theatre’s latest production.
Ian Gower and Paul Carpenter who wrote the TV series shown between 1994 and 2007, have adapted key moments for stage.
Janice Rendel, playing Dawn French’s former role, captures the vicar’s infectious love of life perfectly. Her facial expressions tell what she is thinking yet she is never a Dawn French carbon copy.
That also goes for Rosalind Ford as her dozy sidekick, Alice. Again, she projects the essence of the character but adding her own input.
Her beau, Hugo, the not-so-bright son of David, chairman of the parish council (Oliver Bird) is outstandingly played by Stuart Sephton. He’s especially funny when he contributes to the Lent charity box whenever he thinks of sex – which is often!
Their wedding is the highlight. I won’t spoil things by describing Alice’s unconventional dress.
Before that, the pair partake of an unforgettable marathon of a kiss
The choice of music between scenes varying from hymns to pop songs was enjoyable thanks to director, Martyn Preston,
The Parish Council scenes involve most of the cast. The moment when they realise their new vicar is a woman, is priceless, helping to ensure that this is one of the funniest shows Sale and Altrincham Musical Theatre has ever put on.
* The Vicar of Dibley is at Altrincham Musical Theatre until April 8. For tickets telephone 07504 771 051 or see samtheatre.co.uk. Star rating: * * * * *