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T H E A T E R   R E V I E W  -  Nicholas Nickelby  - The Production Company


HOLLYWOOD, CA - Nicholas Nickelby is an entertaining production and a must see for the holiday season . When a Charles Dickens play arrives in time for the holidays, bets are the title belongs to A Christmas Carol. However, arriving this season at the Complex is a play based another Dickens' classic, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby.

The fast paced story opens as Nicholas Nickelby’s father passes away. Nicholas and his family turn to their money-making consumed Uncle Ralph for assistance. When Uncle Ralph literally tears the family apart for reasons of his own, Nicholas is thrown into several life changing experiences involving a corrupt boarding school and a traveling theater troupe. After rescuing an abused boy named Smike, he embarks on a quest to reunite with his family and to provide them with a good life.


This new adaptation by Gregory Blair is faithful to the original, and rest assured is not as lengthy as the well known Royal Shakespeare Company version of 1980. In attempting to fit so many characters on a stage and spit out several storylines in only two and a half hours time, there are moments where the dramatic punch fails as in the sad outcome for the character of Smike and moment where Uncle Ralph learns of a shocking revelation in Act Two. However, what does work is the character of Nicholas Nickelby. His character comes across very likeable and the audience roots for him to have a happy ending. There are also a parade of minor characters who do entertain and help move the story along as in the case of the poshy Cheeryble brothers, the evil Squeers family, and the members of the traveling theater troupe.

Under the direction of August Vivirito, the strongest draw in this production are the actors. Ethan Kogan is appealing and engaging as Nicholas Nickelby. He brings his talent to the table and performs with ease. Steven Connor gives a believable performance as the greedy Uncle Ralph. Skip Pipo shows he is having fun in the role of reliable servant Newman Noggs. Jennifer Ruckman brings intelligence into the character of Nicholas sister Kate. Jeremy Lelliott draws sympathy as the sickly Smike, and does what he can with the role. Scot Renfro and Georgan George prove to be a devilish pair as the evil Squeers. Michelle Simek's characterizations of Fanny Squeers and Nina Crummles are hilarious. Joy Nash juggles all her minor roles with gusto and is a hoot to watch in every scene. Rounding out the cast are John Basiulis, Frank Kesby, Jonathon Markanday, Dominick Marrone, Aubrey Saverino, Margaret Schugt and Scotty Servis.

The costumes in this production are simply divine and bring quality to the production. The set design also recieves a kudos nod, fully utilizing the small theater space with great detail bringing the audience into the world of Nicholas Nickelby. Come and experience the world of Nicholas Nickelby. The story is captivating and the actors are top rate. - Adrian Rennie

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Produced by The Production Company, Nicholas Nickelby performs at The Complex’s Flight Theatre, located at 6472 Santa Monica in Hollywood, CA. Running through January 15, 2006, performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm. There are no performances on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, and New Years Day. General Admission is $20.00. Students and Seniors with ID, tickets are $15.00. Cash only at the Box Office. There is an ATM on the premises.

For reservations, please call (310) 869-7546

Website to Explore

http://www.theproductioncompanyla.com/ - Official Production Website

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Dickens - Bio on Charles Dickens

http://www.dickens-literature.com/Nicholas_Nickleby/index.html - Nicholas Nickelby by Charles Dickens

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Adrian Rennie, staff writer and editor for Maestro Arts & Reviews, is an actor and Los Angeles area playwright. Having received great reviews for his plays, The Seven Lessons of Life and Only a Phone Call Away, he continues to write and act in Los Angeles Theater, Television and Film. 

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