I played the roles of John Browdie and Sir Mulberry Hawk when the McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College in Memphis produced "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby." This eight-and-a-half-hour play is presented in two parts, with audiences either seeing it on two consecutive nights or taking in the whole thing in one day. This mammoth undertaking was overseen by director Barry Fuller, with Bennett Wood, Jerry Chipman, Julia "Cookie" Ewing, and Tony Lee Garner as associate directors. The picture on the left shows John Browdie with Cookie Ewing's Fanny Squeers; the picture on the right shows Pamela Poletti's Kate Nickleby in the nefarious clutches of Sir Mulberry Hawk.

 

"Galen Fott is heart-warming as John Browdie, who befriends Nicholas and Smike, but hateful as Sir Mulberry Hawk..."--Commercial Appeal

 

"...Galen Fott does a winningly open-handed and slow-on-the-uptake John Browdie, as well as a profligate Sir Mulberry Hawk."--Memphis Business Journal

 

If you haven’t seen the original Royal Shakespeare Company production, you can do so here. It’s an amazing production, with at least four performances I wouldn’t hesitate to categorize as “brilliant”. Bernard Levin wrote this about it in the London Times:

 

“There is only one way to behave at the Aldwych; to surrender completely to the truth, which is that not for many years has London's theatre seen anything so richly joyous, so immoderately rife with pleasure, drama, colour and entertainment, so life-enhancing, yea-saying and fecund, so -- in the one word which embraces all these and more -- so Dickensian. This production of “Nicholas Nickleby” is ceaselessly entertaining, dramatic, funny, touching, beautiful and right; it is a tribute to England’s greatest writer of prose and of the teeming world he conjured up; it is an evocation of England herself; but it is something more than all of these. It is a celebration of love and justice that is true to the spirit of Dickens' belief that those are the fulcrums on which the universe is moved, and the consequence is that we come out not merely delighted but strengthened, not just entertained but uplifted, not only affected but changed.”