The Tart and the Vicar's Wife

Lichfield Garrick


ON the face of it this is a traditional British farce with a vicar's wife, a posh bird, a farmer's wife and an American student  teaming all up with an up market lady of the night to earn a bit of extra cash.

Throw in the vicar away on a course, a curate who insists on popping in all the time and a lottery winner with a ghost and all the elements are there but this revival of the Joan Shirley hit of the 80s is hiding a play which every so often manages to peep out

True the dialogue might owe something to Donald McGill with double entendres everywhere but unlike traditional farce this is a comedy with a more serious side as each character's tale unfolds and we start to understand them better

There is the vicar, (Marcus Hutton) a former executive who survived a horror car crash so devoted his life to God – dragging his long suffering wife  Glenda (Linda Armstrong) behind him leaving all the trappings of wealth behind

Pru (Sarah Jane Buckley) is a single mum after her husband walked out and is struggling to pay school fees while American student Sindy has escaped problems at home to tour Europe

Joe Carpenter (Matt Healy who was bad boy  Matthew King in Emerdale) is a lottery winner who trying hard to be rich rather than poor with money.

Star of the show though was Suzie Chard as farmer's wife and mum of five Kate Spencer, the farmer's wife where size zero had another figure in front.  Her timing is brilliant and when she opens her heart the audience feels for her.

With the women all short of money Joe, who is escaping a ghost in the country pile he has just bought, comes up with an idea . . . and a madame, Selina  (Danelle Johnson).

It does not take a brain surgeon to have a fair inkling of where the plot might be heading but along the journey there is pathos and a few home truths before the happy ending.

A slick Ian Dickens production made for a funny and entertaining evening.

Roger Clarke