Young Nicholas Nickleby sets out to make his fortune in order to prevent his mother and sister from depending upon his uncle, Ralph Nicklby. But he finds his first job as master at a ...
See full summary »
After the death of his father, Nicholas Nickleby along with his sister Kate and their mother find themselves in difficult conditions. They relocate to London in the hope that Uncle Ralph ... See full summary »
Nicholas Nickleby is an impoverished young man making his way in life in the cruel and unjust world of early Victorian England. His good looks, kind heart and gentlemanly manner are fine ... See full summary »
Nineteenth century England. When Nicholas Nickleby's father dies and leaves his family destitute, his uncle, the greedy moneylender, Ralph Nickleby, finds Nicholas a job teaching in a ... See full summary »
Arthur Clennam returns to London after working abroad for many years with his now deceased father. Almost at once he becomes involved in the problems of his mother's seamstress Amy Dorrit ... See full summary »
A twelve-part BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens first novel. The story follows Samuel Pickwick and three other members of The Pickwick Club as they travel throughout the English countryside... See full summary »
Based on Charles Dickens' novel, this adaptation traces the childhood of an orphan whose mother dies giving birth to him in an English work-house in the 1820s. Little Oliver Twist, already ... See full summary »
Young Nicholas Nickleby sets out to make his fortune in order to prevent his mother and sister from depending upon his uncle, Ralph Nicklby. But he finds his first job as master at a Yorkshire school to be cruel, and runs away with one of the students. Meanwhile, Kate is subjected to the unwanted attentions of Sir Mulberry Hawk, aided by her uncle. Nicholas and his new friend, Smike, begin their adventures and eventually set out to rescue Kate, with the usual Dickensian twists, turns and asides. Written by
The entire production, both on stage and on television, used 39 actors playing more than 100 characters. Only Roger Rees (Nickleby) and David Threlfall (Smike) played one role each. The role of Smike was so physically demanding that Threlfall took a year break from acting to recuperate. See more »
It's quite hard to photograph a stage play for television or the movies. Most times the finished product must, of necessity, do close-ups of some actor or small group of actors, while the entire stage picture is not visible. With "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby" a monumental theatrical undertaking is transformed quite admirably to the small screen. Filmed at The Old Vic in London, the entire show--sets, costumes, lighting, music, and above all else, the acting and direction--are given an immediacy and intimacy that makes the audience member feel as though the show is being performed for them alone.
Charles Dickens works were, by and large, quite long, the original publication being serialized in newspapers and magazines. Rich in character and descriptive passages, with dialog sparkling with the many levels of society that Dickens portrayed, plot layered upon sub-plot and more sub-plot, it would have been understandable if the writers and producers were reluctant to try to bring such a complex novel to life. Certainly, movies are rife with misguided attempts to take 1000 page novels and turn them into 100 minute movies. Seldom do they do more than touch on the highlights of a novel, and then they often feel the need to add story lines that weren't in the original in a foolish attempt to make the production more acceptable to modern audiences. "Nicholas Nickleby" does it right. In nine glorious hours of high energy acting, the tale of Nicholas, his sister Kate, friend Smike, Newman Noggs, greedy uncle Ralph, and the delightful brothers Cheryble unfolds before us.
With a cast numbering more than 40 playing well over 200 roles, the show moves easily from the Nickleby clan's arrival in London to their ultimate happiness, with the usual collection of Dickensian hardships and triumphs along the way. Many actors will be familiar to audiences, although the names might not be so. Certainly, if you watch enough British television on A & E or BBC you will recognize several of the cast members, and Roger Rees, brilliant in the title role, has long been familiar to American audiences.
But pay close attention to the smaller roles, too. An old theater adage says "there are no small parts, only small actors." This show is a perfect example of quality acting from largest to smallest role. Had one actor not been totally on top of their game, it would have stood out badly. Watch the reactions on the faces of the people who are on the edges of a scene: totally involved in what is going on, listening all the time, creating a reality that is as complete as can be found on a stage.
"The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby" is as entertaining, involving, uplifting and exhilarating bit of theater as could be found. It's a joy to watch, and I, for one, am delighted that it is available on DVD. Go out and buy it today, and spend a weekend in front of your TV, entranced. I did.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?