The original Royal Shakespeare Company's production of "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby," featuring 39 performers portraying 150 roles and running almost nine hours, is available on a nine-volume set of A&E Home Video.
Shot on the stage of the Old Vic Theatre in London, this dramatic masterpiece captures the classic story by Charles Dickens in all its wickedness and wonder with the use of baronets and beggars, aristocrats and outcasts.
Roger Rees stars in the title role, with Emily Richard as his irrepressible sister, John Woodvine as greedy Uncle Ralph and Jane Downs as Mrs. Nickleby. They portray characters who reveal the injustices of wealth and poverty in Victorian England.
There was clamor to see pirated stage versions of this story in 1838 even before Dickens completed the novel. But it was almost 150 years later when this classic was produced in full glory on London and Broadway stages in a two-night, eight-hour-plus performance that produced four Tony Awards--best play, best director of a play (Trevor Nunn and John Caird), best actor (Rees) and best scenic design.