The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby: Part II
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."