The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby

5th June 1980

Aldwych Theatre, RSC

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Nicholas Nickleby was an 8½ hour long adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel, performed in 2 parts.  Part 1 was 4 hours in length with one interval of 15 minutes.  Part 2 was 4½ hours in length with two intervals of 12 minutes.

The opening night was on the 5th June 1980.  The show ran for an 8 week season at the Aldwych Theatre, playing Part 1 on some nights and Part 2 on others with both parts playing together on matinée and evening performances.

It was revived for 2 further 8 week runs at the Aldwych in the autumn season of 1980 and the spring season of 1981 before being filmed for Primetime TV at the Old Vic Theatre and transferring to Broadway for the autumn season of 1981.

The creative team was the same for all the revivals.  The cast changed a little from one revival to the next.  The cast list below is for the first performance in 1980 and a second cast list with subsequent changes at the Aldwych.

The cast that filmed the show and went to Broadway is listed on a separate page.

A further revival with a substantially different cast played at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford and toured to Los Angeles and Broadway in 1985. The creative team and cast for that production are also listed on a separate page.

Olivier Awards – 1980

Designer of the Year – John Napier and Dermot Hayes
Director of the Year – Trevor Nunn and John Caird
Actor of the Year in a New Play – Roger Rees for the role of Nicholas Nickleby
Actor of the Year in a Supporting Role – David Threlfall for the role of Smike
Actor of the Year in a Supporting Role – Edward Petherbridge for the role of Newman Noggs (Nomination)
Actress of the Year in a Supporting Role – Suzanne Bertish for the roles of Fanny Squeers, Miss Snevellicci and Peg Sliderskew.
Play of the Year – The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens adapted by David Edgar

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby

Written byCharles Dickens
Adapted by David Edgar

Creative Team

Directed by Trevor Nunn and John Caird
Assisted byLeon Rubin
Designed by John Napier and Dermot Hayes
Costumes by John Napier
Lighting by David Hersey
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Oliver
Assistant to the Designers John Thompson
Stage Manager Phil Bassett
Deputy Stage Managers David Proctor / Michael Townsend
Assistant Stage Managers Hilary Groves / Simon Cooper
SoundRoland Morrow / John A Leonard
Script Assistant Sarah Spare

First Run Cast

The Nickleby Family
Nicholas Nickleby Roger Rees
Kate Nickleby Susan Littler
Ralph Nickleby John Woodvine
Mrs Nickleby Jane Downs
London
Newman Noggs Edward Petherbridge
Hannah Clare Travers-Deacon
Miss La Creevy Rose Hill
Sir Matthew Pupker David Lloyd Meredith
Mr Bonney Terence Harvey
Irate Gentleman Patrick Godfrey
Furious Gentleman Ben Kingsley
Flunkey Timothy Kightley
Muffin Boys Andrew Hawkins / Timothy Spall
Mr Snawley William Maxwell
Snawley Major Janet Dale
Snawley Minor Clare Travers-Deacon
Belling Stephen Rashbrook
William John McEnery
Waitresses Sharon Bower / Juliet Hammond-Hill
Coachman Clyde Pollitt
Mr Mantalini John McEnery
Madame Mantalini Thelma Whiteley
Flunkey Griffith Jones
Miss Knag Janet Dale
Rich Ladies Sharon Bower / Shirley King
Milliners Suzanne Bertish / Sharon Bower / Ian East / Juliet Hammond-Hill / Cathryn Harrison / William Maxwell / Julie Peasgood / Stephen Rashbrook / Clare Travers-Deacon
Yorkshire
Mr Squeers Ben Kingsley
Mrs Squeers Lila Kaye
Smike David Threlfall
Phib Cathryn Harrison
Fanny Squeers Suzanne Bertish
Young Wackford Squeers Timothy Spall
John Browdie Bob Peck
Tilda Price Julie Peasgood
Boys
Tomkins William Maxwell
Coates Andrew Hawkins
Graymarsh Alan Gill
Jennings Terence Harvey
Mobbs Christopher Ravenscroft
Bolder Mark Tandy
Pitcher Sharon Bower
Jackson Nicholas Gecks
Cobbey John Matshikiza
Peters Teddy Kempner
Sprouter Juliet Hammond-Hill
Roberts Ian East
McTaggart Neil Phillips
London Again
Mr Kenwigs Patrick Godfrey
Mrs Kenwigs Shirley King
Morleena Kenwigs Clare Travers-Deacon
Mr Lilyvick Timothy Kightley
Miss Petowker Cathryn Harrison
Mr Crowl Ian East
George Alan Gill
Mr Cutler Jeffery Dench
Mrs Cutler Janet Dale
Mrs Kenwigs’ sister Sharon Bower
Stout Lady Rose Hill
Miss Green Jane Downs
Benjamin Teddy Kempner
Pugstyles Roderick Horn
Old Lord Griffith Jones
Young Fiancée Juliet Hammond-Hill
Landlord Jeffery Dench
Portsmouth
Mr Vincent Crummles Graham Crowden
Mrs Crummles Lila Kaye
The Infant Phenomenon Julie Peasgood
Master Percy Crummles Teddy Kempner
Master Crummles Mark Tandy
Mrs Grudden Rose Hill
Miss Snevellicci Suzanne Bertish
Mr Folair Timothy Spall
Mr Lenville Neil Phillips
Miss Ledrock Juliet Hammond-Hill
Miss Bravassa Sharon Bower
Mr Wagstaff Ben Kingsley
Mr Blightey Jeffery Dench
Miss Belvawney Janet Dale
Miss Gazingi Clare Travers-Deacon
Mr Pailey William Maxwell
Mr Hetherington Andrew Hawkins
Mr Bane Stephen Rashbrook
Mr Fluggers Griffith Jones
Mrs Lenville Shirley King
Mr Curdle Hubert Rees
Mrs Curdle Susan Littler
Mr Snevellicci John McEnery
Mrs Snevellicci Thelma Whiteley
London Again
Scaley Clyde Pollitt
Tix Teddy Kempner
Sir Mulberry Hawk Bob Peck
Lord Frederick Verisopht Nicholas Gecks
Mr Pluck Teddy Kempner
Mr Pyke John Matshikiza
Mr Snobb Christopher Ravenscroft
Colonel Chowser Norman Tyrrell
Brooker Clyde Pollitt
Mr Wititterley Roderick Horn
Mrs Wititterley Janet Dale
Alphonse Stephen Rashbrook
Opera Singers Sharon Bower / Andrew Hawkins / John Woodvine
Charles Cheeryble David Lloyd Meredith
Ned Cheeryble Hubert Rees
Tim Linkinwater Griffith Jones
The Man Next Door Patrick Godfrey
Keeper Alan Gill
Frank Cheeryble Christopher Ravenscroft
Nurse Thelma Whiteley
Madeline Bray Juliet Hammond-Hill
Arthur Gride Jeffery Dench
Walter Bray Norman Tyrrell
Peg Sliderskew Suzanne Bertish
Hawks’ Rival Edward Petherbridge
Captain Adams Andrew Hawkins
Westwood Neil Phillips
Croupier Timothy Spall
Casino Propietor Graham Crowden
Surgeon Timothy Kightley
Umpire Roderick Horn
Policemen Andrew Hawkins / Mark Tandy
Mrs Snawley Janet Dale
Young Woman Clare Travers-Deacon
All other parts played by members of the company.

First Run Musicians

Music Director / Keyboards Mike Steer
Flute Christopher Lacey
Clarinet Victor Slaymark
Bassoon Peter Whittaker
Trumpets Peter Cameron / Roderick Tearle
Horn Duncan Hollowood
Trombone David Hissey
Violins Bridget Hurst / Wilfred Gibson / Alistair McLachlan
Bass Alan Walley
Guitar / Banjo George Weigand
Percussion Tony McVey
Wedding Anthem sung by Choristers from St Paul’s Cathedral
Master of the Choir Barry Rose

Second Run Cast

In the second run of the play, in the autumn of 1980, the creative team stayed the same but the cast and orchestra changed as follows:
The Nickleby Family
Nicholas Nickleby Roger Rees
Kate Nickleby Emily Richard
Ralph Nickleby John Woodvine
Mrs Nickleby Jane Downs
London
Newman Noggs Edward Petherbridge
Hannah Hilary Townley
Miss La Creevy Rose Hill
Sir Matthew Pupker David Lloyd Meredith
Mr Bonney Terence Harvey
Irate Gentleman Patrick Godfrey
Flunkey Timothy Kightley
Muffin Boys Andrew Hawkins / Timothy Spall
Mr Snawley William Maxwell
Snawley Major Janet Dale
Snawley Minor Hilary Townley
Belling Stephen Rashbrook
William John McEnery
Waitresses Sharon Bower / Harriet Walter
Coachman Clyde Pollitt
Mr Mantalini John McEnery
Madame Mantalini Thelma Whiteley
Flunkey Griffith Jones
Miss Knag Janet Dale
Rich Ladies Sharon Bower / Shirley King
Milliners Suzanne Bertish / Sharon Bower / Cathryn Harrison / Ian East / William Maxwell / Julie Peasgood / Stephen Rashbrook / Hilary Townley / Harriet Walter
Yorkshire
Mr Squeers Fulton MacKay
Mrs Squeers Lila Kaye
Smike David Threlfall
Phib Cathryn Harrison
Fanny Squeers Suzanne Bertish
Young Wackford Squeers Timothy Spall
John Browdie Bob Peck
Tilda Price Julie Peasgood
Boys
Tomkins William Maxwell
Coates Andrew Hawkins
Graymarsh Alan Gill
Jennings Terence Harvey
Mobbs Christopher Ravenscroft
Bolder Mark Tandy
Pitcher Sharon Bower
Jackson Nicholas Gecks
Cobbey John Matshikiza
Peters Teddy Kempner
Sprouter Harriet Walter
Roberts Ian East
London Again
Mr Kenwigs Patrick Godfrey
Mrs Kenwigs Shirley King
Morleena Kenwigs Hilary Townley
Mr Lilyvick Timothy Kightley
Miss Petowker Cathryn Harrison
Mr Crowl Ian East
George Alan Gill
Mr Cutler Jeffery Dench
Mrs Cutler Janet Dale
Mrs Kenwigs’ Sister Sharon Bower
Stout Lady Rose Hill
Miss Green Jane Downs
Benjamin Teddy Kempner
Pugstyles Roderick Horn
Old Lord Griffith Jones
Young Fiancée Harriet Walter
Landlord Jeffery Dench
Portsmouth
Mr Vincent Crummles Christopher Benjamin
Mrs Crummles Lila Kaye
The Infant Phenomenon Julie Peasgood
Master Percy Crummles Teddy Kempner
Master Crummles Mark Tandy
Mrs Grudden Rose Hill
Miss Snevellicci Suzanne Bertish
Mr Folair Timothy Spall
Mr Lenville Christopher Ravenscroft
Miss Ledrock Harriet Walter
Miss Bravassa Sharon Bower
Mr Wagstaff Fulton MacKay
Mr Blightey Jeffery Dench
Miss Belvawney Janet Dale
Miss Gazingi Hilary  Townley
Mr Pailey William Maxwell
Mr Hetherington Andrew Hawkins
Mr Bane Stephen Rashbrook
Mr Fluggers Griffith Jones
Mrs Lenville Shirley King
Mr Curdle Hubert Rees
Mrs Curdle Emily Richard
Mr Senellicci John McEnery
Mrs Snevellicci Thelma Whiteley
London Again
Scaley Clyde Pollitt
Tix Teddy Kempner
Sir Mulberry Hawk Bob Peck
Lord Frederick Verisopht Nicholas Gecks
Mr Pluck Teddy Kempner
Mr Pyke John Matshikiza
Mr Snobb Christopher Ravenscroft
Colonel Chowser Norman Tyrrell
Brooker Clyde Pollitt
Mr Wititterley Roderick Horn
Mrs Wititterley Janet Dale
Alphonse Stephen Rashbrook
Opera Singers Sharon Bower / Andrew Hawkins / John Woodvine
Charles Cheeryble David Lloyd Meredith
Ned Cheeryble Hubert Rees
Tim Linkinwater Griffith Jones
The Man Next Door Patrick Godfrey
Keeper Alan Gill
Frank Cheeryble Christopher Ravenscroft
Nurse Thelma Whiteley
Madeline Bray Harriet Walter
Arthur Gride Jeffery Dench
Walter Bray Norman Tyrrell
Peg Sliderskew Suzanne Bertish
Hawks’ Rival Edward Petherbridge
Captain Adams Andrew Hawkins
Westwood Alan Gill
Croupier Timothy Spall
Casino Propietor Christopher Benjamin
Surgeon Timothy Kightley
Umpire Roderick Horn
Policemen Andrew Hawkins / Mark Tandy
Mrs Snawley Janet Dale
Young Woman Hilary Townley
All other parts played by members of the company

Second Run Musicians

Music Director / Keyboards Alan Gout
Flute Christopher Lacey
Clarinet Victor Slaymark
Bassoon Peter Whittaker
Trumpets Peter Cameron / Roderick Tearle
Horn Duncan Hollowood
Trombone David Hissey
Violins Bridget Hirst / Alistair McLachlan
Bass Alan Walley
Guitar/Banjo George Weigand
Percussion Tony McVey
Wedding Anthem sung by Choristers from St Paul’s Cathedral
Master of the Choir Barry Rose