Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings


Jessica Schneider as Alice and and Tori Wakeman as Geraldine

The Vicar of Dibley

The Nonentities

The Rose Theatre, Kidderminster


It doesn’t seem like The Vicar of Dibley left our screens way back in 2007, but it’s a fact. The first series began in 1994, and delivered 31 episodes in total, becoming one of the most successful and loved comedy series for the writers Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer and its lead star, Dawn French.

Set in the fictitious quiet typical country village of Dibley, it chartered the comic arrival of the first female vicar, a Miss Geraldine Granger, to be seen by the locals.  The Vicars forward thinking vision creates something of stir and the subsequent issues in dealing with her arrival and in turn her dealing with all of their unique personalities, was at the heart of each of the episodes.

Like so many other sitcoms and comedies of the time, it has made its way onto the stage and they have become a firm favourite for amateur companies to produce, often guaranteeing good attendance due to their popularity.

This is the second time the Nonentities have staged an episode to great acclaim and for this current production, and being so close to Christmas, they have chosen “A Wholly Holy Happy Ending", which was first broadcast by the BBC in 2006.

The inhabitants of Dibley are getting ready to plan the villages Christmas festivities and whilst the chaos of that ensues the Vicar finds love in a new handsome arrival to the area.

The central role, and quite an undertaking of the Vicar, was brilliantly taken on by Tori Wakeman.  Not only did she do a first class job as the rock of the production, but proved she has a fine voice too closing the show with an upbeat musical number in which all the cast joined in with.

The format of Dibley provides for a wide range of dotty and madcap characters. Closest to the Vicar is Alice played by Jessica Schneider. Alice’s unique personality was captured to full effect and both she and the vicar created some very funny moments.

Martin Salter played Owen, a character who probably would not get by in today’s `politically correct, cancel culture’ as he’s the one with his own breed of point blank, yet innocent toilet humour. The odd Jim Trott was played by Richard Taylor and who with very good timing got some of the biggest laughs. Bob Graham was David Horton the father-in-law of the dotty Alice and amusingly has a plan to improve the image of Herod. Alan Parsons was delightful as Frank Pickle as was Chris Kay as Hugo Horton.

Tom Rees played a very supportive role as the new village arrival Harry Kennedy and there was additional cast support from Stuart Wishart , Beth Grainger , Beth Dalton and Jennifer Groome all adding their performances to this chaotic, crazy Christmas story.

The production featured some very complex scene changes and the Nonentities team mastered all of this with great ease. There was even a finely painted archway which I feel duty bound to mention. After a full season of so many excellent plays and hopefully the spectre of Covid lockdowns and lockouts well behind us, it was great to see the theatre full and both them and the cast enjoying this highly entertaining show. There is no better start to the Christmas season than this, so go see it. To 03-12-22 

By Jeff Grant


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