Oh fans of The Vicar of Dibley are going to love this! At Ilkley Playhouse this week is a live rendition of one of Britain’s best loved sitcoms, with all the characters we know and love, directed here by Kevin Moore.

A beautifully designed set is simultaneously the parish meeting room, a living room and a vestry and the cast move between the various locations with ease, making it clear where they are. And it starts at the beginning with the arrival of the new vicar – in all her shocking female-ness! When this was show was first broadcast in 1994, it was only two years since women had first been ordained and for some parishes the very idea was still a challenging notion! And indeed, it is the case in Dibley!

David Horton is beautifully portrayed by Ian Taylor with all the pomposity and stiffness of the original and his reaction on first meeting the confident and cheerful Geraldine Grainger is pitched perfectly. It is clear from the outset that David Horton rules the parish council with a scarcely disguised iron fist and this is probably a good thing considering the crowd of eccentrics which surround him.

Rev. Geraldine is thrust into the heart of Dibley’s community and has to navigate all the peculiarities of village life – most of which are its inhabitants! Hugo, the hapless, witless son of the Parish Chair, is delightfully rendered by David Tomlinson, who is every inch the quivering, stumbling innocent that we know. So too the apple of his eye, the ingenue, Alice (Springs) Tinker played with bouncy charm by Sam Ball. The first kiss of those love birds is something else!

Helen Clarke embodies Geraldine Grainger beautifully with all the eye-rolling, fake-grinning disbelief of the original – it’s not an easy task to take on a part which is so familiar to audiences and make it you own – but Helen achieves this well.

Equally well delivered are the hilarious characters of ‘no-no-no’ Jim, the tedious council secretary Frank and the excruciatingly vulgar Owen Newitt: David Newall, Tim Lobley and Michael Padgett do a splendid job of bringing them to life on stage. Sara Allen is clearly loving the opportunity to portray the culinary inventor Letitia Cropley – recipe cards may be made available to the very brave.

The play contains some of the series best loved scenes and jokes and whilst some of them now seem a little nearer the knuckle than when they first aired, audiences will, no doubt, enjoy reliving the experience.

This popular play has the distinction of being all but sold out – but you could always get your name down for a return! It runs at Ilkley Playhouse until 16th December. Try calling the box office on 01943 609539 or booking on line www.ilkleyplayhouse.co.uk