Sunday, 4 November 2007

A theatrical experience not to be missed

We spent much of Saturday seeing the Chichester Festival Theatre's stunning revival of David Edgar's RSC adaptation of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, in Bath. This six hour marathon is played with remarkable gusto and brilliant acting by a stellar cast of 27, whose ensemble acting and enthusiasm carry the two-part production with pace through the horrors of Wackford Squeers and Dotheboys Hall (which Charles Dickens based on real private 'schools' in Yorkshire at the time), the cruelty of Uncle Ralph (a fine performance by Leigh Lawson) and his associates, the dramatic troupe at Portsmouth and the affecting death of Smike (played splendidly by David Dawson), to its happy ending. I hadn't seen the RSC production on stage - and the Channel 4 production lacked the atmosphere of a compact theatre like Bath's Theatre Royal - but those who have say this is every bit as good. With fine group singing and particularly strong performances from the principals, this is a production and experience not to be missed. It is at the Gielgud theatre in London in December and January.

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