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Sue H. from DALLAS, TX
Reviewed on 9/4/2011...
The Life & Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby is A&E's 4-DVD series of The Royal Shakespeare Company's famously successful experimental stage production filmed in performance in the early 1980's. The show was a hit in London where it won multiple Olivier Awards and in New York where it won multiple Tony Awards, also winning an Emmy Award as presented on PBS and with segments introduced by Peter Ustinov who is absent from these DVDs.
Several theatrical traditions were overturned by the RSC whose London members created the scenes cobbled into a lengthy production with all members of the company playing multiple roles except for Roger Rees. Rees played only the title role of young Nickleby. Playgoers spent most of an afternoon and an evening in the theater relieved by a dinner break at intermission for both audience and performers.
Viewing the production is immensely rewarding, but it requires my full attention to the drama as characters and plot lines move in and out, plus the commitment of 8 or 9 hours over several days to view the complete show. I recommend it for fans of British theater and PBS's Masterpiece [Theater].
The scenes shift quickly within an exceptional production design, but lighting for video cameras is especially dim and I find it challenging. Otherwise this show is exceptional escapist entertainment.