Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby

The Garage, Norwich

> The Garage, Norwich

Dickens can't half tell a story, and David Edgar's adaptation of his third novel does justice to the original in the hands of David Lambert's company.

The effects were quick and bold and characters, like the benevolent Newman Noggs (Roger Gardiner) were established with a crack of the knuckles or a timely stoop. The set-up was equally economical, with the fate of widow Nickleby (Jeanine Huggins) and the plight of her son Nicholas (Sam Claflin) and daughter Kate (Genevieve Raghu) laid before us in a matter of seconds.

The storytelling style allowed for quick changes of scene: we followed Nicholas to his first job at dread school Dotheboys Hall where the beatings and brutality took a comic and slapstick turn and the love interest, Fanny, (Mandy Kiley) had all the allure of a rugger player and some of the same tactics.

Meanwhile Kate was faring better at an emporium of bespoke ladies' attire, until her wicked uncle attempted to marry her off and she was mistreated by men with names like Mr Pluck and mannerisms to match.

The backdrop was predictable: sooty black sky scape with rooftops, which still had a suitable neutrality as we shifted from place to place. Costumes ranged from period to pantomime according to character.

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I may not be with Peter Ackroyd in thinking the book “perhaps the funniest novel in the English language” but on stage, this really was quite a hoot!

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