REVIEW: The Vicar of Dibley at The Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham

Reverend Geraldine Granger and the residents of Dibley returned to the stage as Portchester Players took The Vicar of Dibley to the Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham.

Comically strong performances welcomed the audience, with several cast members creating characters close to those made famous in the BBC TV series.

Amanda Jacobs (Alice Tinker) replicated her TV counterpart – her naivety contrasting perfectly with the dry wit of Graham Robertson (David Horton).

Unfortunately Kay Sumpner (in the title role) was the weak link in the cast, with an under-developed character and poor comic timing. But in a strong cast, including husband Paul Sumpner (Frank Pickle), to support her, these faults can be overlooked.

The show also featured a number of long gaps between scenes which, although covered with music such as Queen’s Radio Ga Ga and the hymn I Vow to Thee my Country, caused audible reaction from the sold-out audience.

However, the humour in the script was well received by the audience, especially the entertaining lines from Mark Harold (Jim Trott) who was one of only a small number of people to constantly receive laughs from an audience with high expectations.

Until Saturday.