Geraldine Grainger – Lyn Hinde
Alice Horton – Louise Cooper
David Horton – Steve Collinson
Hugo Horton – Steve French
Jim – Rosie Winstone
Owen – Paul Reynolds
Frank – Gil Oliphant
Harry – Steve French
Rosie – Kerri Collinson
Vicar – John Carter
Vicar – Rev Jan Shellard-James
Stephen Harrison, Gay Harrison, John Carroll, Janet Chadwick,
Ted Jenkins, John Carter, Ann Gouldney, Polly Carroll
A Tiger Aspect Production
Written By – Richard Cutis and Paul Mayhew-Archer
Backstage – Ann Gouldney, Ted Jenkins, Jane Pruden
Lights and Sound– Greg Collinson
Prompt – Liz Owen
Make-up – Jane Pruden
Biscuits & Tea – Gay Harrison, Jill Sainsbury
Bar – Stephen Harrison, Adele Reynolds, Andy Childs
Photos – Myrtle Pizzey
After a two-year period of absence (for the obvious reason) the Wookey Theatre Group were back, and there was a palpable sense of excitement amongst the crowd and the performers. The show consisted of three episodes from the last Vicar of Dibley series, cleverly sewn together as one whole performance.
The cast were strong throughout, and from the opening parish council meeting scene we immediately recognised familiar characters brilliantly brought to life, as Frank (Gil Oliphant), Owen (Paul Reynolds), Jim (Rosie Winstone) and Hugo (Steve French) were presided over by a wonderfully exasperated David (Steve Collinson). Without exception, this cast had studied their characters and delivered them superbly, from Jim’s stutter and Hugo’s head tilts to Frank’s dithering, Owen’s unique enunciation and David’s haughty demeanour.
In the play, the eponymous Geraldine (played by Lyn Hinde) is instantly attracted to Harry, a dashing new arrival to the village (played by Steve French). Their scenes together fizzed with wit and romance, leaving the audience firmly rooting for Geraldine’s longed-for happy ending.
Geraldine’s scenes with the delightfully dippy Alice (played by Louise Cooper) beautifully captured the iconic pair’s hilarious chemistry, and the infamous joke explanations, to a blissfully bewildered Alice, had the audience in stitches.
Dawn French has left a large cassock to fill, but Lyn Hinde’s performance as Geraldine was a triumph. She impressively combined compassion and frustration (plus occasional bursts of profanity and lunacy) with real warmth for her wonderfully eccentric parishioners. On stage for every scene, this was a massive role, skilfully executed and a real joy to watch.
The addition of a pre-filmed video clip was a highlight in the second act (directed and produced by Greg Collinson and Jamie Bendy). A superbly put together dream sequence, where Geraldine gets pipped to the alter by her rival, and whilst singing a soul classic, punches both the bride and the groom in sheer frustration.
Make up, lights, and sound were all extremely well done, and the simplistic staging was remarkably effective.
Directed by Polly Carroll and produced by Ann Gouldney, this 15th production by WTG is a theatrical achievement of which they should be seriously proud. Wookey may be a small unassuming village, but the WTG cast and crew consistently raise their game to put on performances that are top notch.