Cast hope audience will sing their praises

Duns Players who are staging Vicar of Dibley.
Duns Players who are staging Vicar of Dibley.

Duns Players will be hoping for some divine inspiration tonight as the curtain goes up on their performances of ‘Steptoe & Son’ and ‘The Vicar of Dibley’.

We featured a preview on the former last week so now it’s time to deal with the latter, the much loved Dawn French series which captured the hearts of many during the 1990s and early 2000s.

Like ‘Steptoe & Son’ it truly is a national treasure with French instantly recogniseable as the larger than life vicar Geraldine Grainger.

It became a trademark role for the comedienne so the task of taking the part in her own direction is no mean feat for the Players’ own Geraldine, Kate Lester.

Kate has taken on a number of roles for both Duns Players and Duns Opera. Two years ago she was the Cybil to Peter Lerpiniere’s Basil in ‘Fawlty Towers’ so she’s no stranger to an iconic character.

“I think Cybil was almost a caricature so I tried to mimic the mannerisms and the voice but Geraldine’s a lot more real,” she said as the time for curtain up drew nearer.

“She’s very warm and funny and has a great turn of phrase. I honestly never expected to get the part and I only auditioned because I’m a huge fan of the show and wanted an opportunity to read the script; it’s so well written.”

Although they say imitation is the highest form of flattery, Kate said there was no way she’d try and do an exact replica of Dawn French’s Geraldine.

“I think I have to accept that some people will be coming along to the show with preconceived ideas and expect to see ‘Dawn French’ but it would be incredibly hard for me to do a carbon copy.

“John Schofield said the way he plays Albert Steptoe is “a nod” to the original and I’m doing the same.”

Like ‘Steptoe’ director Helen Forsyth, Matthew Taylor is taking the directorial reins for the first time but Kate said the youngster was doing a stirling job.

“He might be young but Matthew knows his stuff inside out,” Kate continued.

“He’s not just plucking things out of thin air, he’s had some really great ideas and he knows the script down to a tee which is very handy if people have been missing from rehearsals!”

The double header of ‘Vicar of Dibley’ and ‘Steptoe & Son’ begins its three night run at Duns Volunteer Hall tonight with performances at 7.30pm.