REVIEW: Viva The Vicar of Dibley! Soham sell-out production is a winner

PUBLISHED: 10:38 21 May 2018

The Vicar of Dibley production by Viva. Photo: Mike Rouse

The Vicar of Dibley production by Viva. Photo: Mike Rouse

Archant

There was no wedding I would rather have been at than that of Alice and Hugo’s on Saturday.

Soham-based Viva Theatre Company in rehearsal for The Vicar of Dibley at St Andrew's Church. PHOTO: Mike Rouse.Soham-based Viva Theatre Company in rehearsal for The Vicar of Dibley at St Andrew's Church. PHOTO: Mike Rouse.

Viva Soham gave the royals a run for their money, as they sure knew how to put on a first class performance with The Vicar of Dibley. Teletubbies and all.

The town was transformed into the parish of St Barnabus’ with a cast that could have rivalled that of the hit 90s programme.

Irresistibly funny, courageously witty and on the mark with giggles and gags - it was like watching the box set on BBC iPlayer.

Soham-based Viva Theatre Company in rehearsal for The Vicar of Dibley at St Andrew's Church. PHOTO: Mike Rouse.Soham-based Viva Theatre Company in rehearsal for The Vicar of Dibley at St Andrew's Church. PHOTO: Mike Rouse.

Taking the lead as Geraldine was Kirsten Martin, who held an uncanny resemblance to the great Dawn French.

Her larger-than-life personality and unwavering support of the loveably dim Verger Alice was charmingly played out to a pew-packed St Andrew’s Church.

The Dibley parish council were brilliantly reenacted with Geoff Fisher as David Horton and Steven Beach as ‘no no no...yes’ Jim.

Soham-based Viva Theatre Company in rehearsal for The Vicar of Dibley at St Andrew's Church. PHOTO: Mike Rouse.Soham-based Viva Theatre Company in rehearsal for The Vicar of Dibley at St Andrew's Church. PHOTO: Mike Rouse.

And Vaughan Moll played Owen - who managed to make it through without too many trips to the ‘carsy’!

Yet the standout performance of the night had to come from Hannah Schunmann as Alice Tinker.

Her relationship with Hugo - played by David Blyth - made for fantastic viewing, carefully crafted to be as close as possible to the real thing.

The Vicar of Dibley production by Viva. Photo: Mike RouseThe Vicar of Dibley production by Viva. Photo: Mike Rouse

Each act recreated moments from the show - which ran from 1994 to 2007 - including the visit from Songs of Praise which was brilliantly recorded with audience participation.

But the best was saved until last with Alice and Hugo’s wedding.

Teletubbies, a scorned lover in the wrong church and a mixed up repetition of vows - it was everything that the original was and more.

The show ended with a touching scene between Geraldine and David before everyone emotionally sang The Lord Is My Shepherd.

The cast were perfectly in sync and gave a faultless performance which left me waiting for the next episode.

Surely we need a Christmas special? Or a dashing Soham Richard Armitage look-alike to come and whisk the Vicar off her feet?!

Thank you St Andrew’s and Viva Soham for a great evening of entertainment.

There’s only one thing left to say...Viva The Vicar of Dibley!

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