You don’t have to be a mod or know the songs of The Small Faces to enjoy this musical. It’s a musical with heart. This musical will please Small Faces fans and those of a certain age who remember the era, however this musical is far reaching and those who love a good show with great music will enjoy it just as much.
It tells the story of the rise and fall of The Small Faces (pre Rod Stewart). Really, it’s a story about Steve Marriott who along with his friends formed the group. Steve didn’t like school and although was a talented actor he decided on a career in music. His poor mum – she must have struggled to support all his choices. The show starts at the height of their fame with their famous violent break up at Alexandra Palace. We then go back to the beginning and have a middle-aged Steve narrating the ‘rise and fall of the Small Faces’.
In the beginning The Small Faces were very mod. Steve was all about the look, the clothes, the right bike. Their integrity for their early songs reflect this and they sign with a manager who then insists on a ‘pop’ song resulting in ‘Sha La La La Lee’. The band are not happy with that or their lack of money. The show features some of their most well-known songs including Ichycoo Park, Lazy Sunday and the title track, All Or Nothing.
There are some real gem moments in the show: The Tony Blackburn on TOTP interview was hysterical; the band forming, interacting and especially playing all the songs is extremely exciting; and the moment where Steve’s mum has a hypothetical conversation with Steve on how it could have been. This was so moving I had tears in my eyes.
Carol Harrison has written a musical which captures the feel of the sixties and it’s an exciting time. It makes you wish you were there. She also plays Steve’s mum and is absolutely brilliant in the role. I loved the London accents (being a Londoner myself) and the integrity of the show. It is a simple story but written well and with characters you care about. This show has heart.
The show is narrated by the older Steve Marriott and is played by Chris Simmons. He is brilliant at moving the story along. You really do care for his character and it feels like his memories. Chris has all the moves and does so in a beer-swilling manner at times. He delivers it with real charisma and is exactly how I imagine a middle-aged Marriott would be. The young Steve Marriott is played by Samuel Pope and he gives Steve his attitude and delivers in droves. He owns the stage and with his mod moves (fascinated how he moves his head and legs). He is absolutely a front man. The rest of his band are Ronnie Lane (Bass) played by Stanton Wright, Ian McLagan (Keyboards) played by Alexander Gold who replaced Jimmy Winston, the original keyboard player, played by Martin Teall and Kenney Jones (Drums) played by Stefan Edwards. The band really play and interact like a real band. They gel together and when they perform the hits it really feels like you are at a small faces gig. It is the highest compliment I can offer.
This show is more than just a mod musical. It’s an exciting adventure of the rise and fall of a band with Steve Marriott at the helm. The show really lets us know his story.
All or nothing is at Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury until Saturday 14 October 2017 and then continues its UK tour.