Despite its length and large cast, the play requires relatively simple staging, enabling it to move smoothly through its many scenes and related story lines. The sum total is a brilliant recapturing of the sights and sounds of Victorian England, and the touching, funny, exhilarating saga of the virtuous young Nicholas as he meets and masters the challenges of poverty and corruption. In the end the play is a soaring affirmation of man's essential goodness—a thrilling, eloquent rendering of the diverse people, places and events which, in Dickens' time or in ours, make up the real stuff of life and draw on the deepest resources of the human spirit. As Clive Barnes puts it: "The greatness of NICHOLAS NICKLEBY is breathtakingly simple. The play flies. And it flies backwards. It takes you to a world of sentiment and passion glimpsed before but never known."
Winner of the 1992 Tony Award and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. One of the great events of the modern theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company production of NICHOLAS NICKLEBY enjoyed phenomenal success in both London and New York, and thrilled millions more via its nationwide showing on the Mobile Showcase television network. "Let me put it simply and plainly. The Royal Shakespeare Company in THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF NICHOLAS NICKLEBY is one of the great theatrical experiences of our time." —NY Post. "…it is big, sweeping theatre of a kind you are unlikely to encounter more than once in a lifetime." —NY Daily News. "The play delves into Dickensian bathos, preposterous coincidences, abrupt reversals of fortune, the collision of improbable goodness with impossible evil—and emerges triumphant, soaring with spirit. In the process it displays the grandest theatrical techniques, affirms the rightness of love and friendship, revives pleasures and poignancies that have all but vanished from modern narrative art." —Time Magazine. "The indestructible Dickens story includes high drama and low comedy, vividly drawn characters in the author's bravura style, melodramatic situations and contrasting subtle scenes…the playgoing experience of a lifetime." —Variety.