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Nigel Nevinson on taking Mr Pickwick on the road

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The idea for doing a one-man play based on The Pickwick Papers came when I visited my daughter in Australia earlier this year. I was asking advice from theatre friends about the possibility of taking a play to the Adelaide Festival, and they thought that I should put on something quintessentially British, such as The Pickwick Papers.

I had played Mr Pickwick on the European Arts Company UK tour of The Pickwick Papers four years ago. In March of this year I ruptured my Achilles tendon playing tennis and, while I was housebound, started work on my own adaptation of the novel.

Some performers have already portrayed Charles Dickens reading excerpts from his novels (as of course he did towards the end of his life), including the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers. The difference in my adaptation is that I will be playing Mr Pickwick telling his story himself as well as many of the other famous characters who appear in the novel.

It will be a light-hearted affair which includes that well-known story of how it came about that Mr Pickwick went to trial for breach of promise of marriage. It should appeal to Dickens aficionados and also to people (perhaps too many of them!) who have not actually read The Pickwick Papers.

After its Brighton showcase (16-18 November at the Purple Playhouse in Montefiore Road) I hope to tour The Trials and Tribulations of Mr Pickwick more widely in the UK during 2013 and then take it to the Adelaide Festival & other places in Australia in 2014. It will be directed by John O'Connor who produced the European Arts tour four years ago.


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