REVIEW: A ‘holy’ good show as Egremont transformed into Dibley!

By Rachael Grealish

Egremont Market Hall has been transformed in to the quirky Parish of Dibley and they’ve been landed with “a babe with a bob cut and a magnificent bosom.” – that’s right, the Vicar of Dibley has come to town.

Praise the lord: Alice (Becky Hardman) and The Reverend Gerladine (Becca Walker).

Dynamic duo: Alice (Becky Hardman) and The Reverend Gerladine (Becca Walker). -Photo Submitted

Whitehaven and District Amateur Operatic Society (WADAOS) are performing three back to back episode of the iconic show this week – running until Saturday 23.

Directed by Carol Corless, the show has an obvious beginning with a performance of the first episode: The Arrival.

Recommend by the Bishop, the entire parish council expect their new vicar to be a superb replacement for their late vicar, but self-confessed chocoholic Geraldine makes quite a surprising arrival.

Taking the lead as the busty head-strong vicar is Becca Walker, she gives a compelling performance with all the mannerisms and cheeky personality as the one and only Dawn French. Each joke was executed perfectly with finesse and the right amount of wit.

In The Arrival, though Geraldine fails to win over the chauvinistic council  chairman David Horton, played by Will Tilloston, she sways the minds of the quirky collection of villagers and makes a lifelong best friend with Alice, played by Becky Hardman.

Hardman played Alice with the perfect balance of being the silly naïve rector and the perfect double act to bounce of Walker’s wit and charm.

The second episode was The songs of  Praise. This sees a BBC film crew take over the parish of Dibley to record an episode of the programme.

This episode also allowed Walker to tap into the man-mad side of the vicar, not leaving out any of French’s suggestive hand gestures and traits from the sitcom, which certainly got the audience giggling.

Then finally: The Christmas Lunch Incident, where the vicar, being the polite and friendly person she is, cannot turn down, what ends up being, three different Christmas lunches.

It may be about the vicar but the entire cast captured the essence of each much loved character from the sitcom and pulled the entire thing together.

It takes any audience member who had loved the show right back to the beginning with a new take, quick set changes and seamless quality acting that could be taken to any stage.

Taking on such an iconic show is difficult for any group of actors, but WADAOS gave a remarkable performance, which was clearly well put together by a skilled behind-the-scenes team.

The director, Carol Corless, said: “I’m so chuffed with the cast. Their efforts have been tremendous and I couldn’t have asked for a better show.”

The Vicar of Dibley at Egremont Market Hall is an absolute must-see to brighten up even the dullest of January’s.

The show is running until Saturday January 23.

Tickets for The Vicar of Dibley are still available for the remaining evenings and are £8 each.

They are available on the door, or in advance at www.thelittleboxoffice.com/wadaos or email wadaoscommittee@gmail.com.