Writer and Producer: Carol Harrison
Director: Tony McHale
Musical Supervisor: Pat Davey
Choreographer: Cameron Hall
Reviewer: Laura Hibbert
Over 50 years on from the start of the Mod scene, All Or Nothing – The Mod Musical celebrates the unique sound of the iconic Mod band, The Small Faces. The bittersweet tale follows the rise and fall of band members Kenney Jones, Ian Mclagan, Ronnie Lane and frontman Steve Marriott.
The musical begins where The Small Face’s journey ends; Steve Marriott slams his guitar and walks off the stage,signifying the band’s split. The audience is taken through the famous foursome’s captivating rise to success, before their inevitable demise with the talented cast playing the band’s classic Mod hits,live on stage.
The Mod sub-culture rose in the early 1960s, just before the hippy ‘swinging 60s’ took a grip of the nation. Mods were working-class free spirits who dressed to impress, rode sexy streamlined Italian Vespas and
Writer and Producer, and self-proclaimed Mod, Carol Harrison has penned a well-researched and honest portrayal of the exploitation, corruption, betrayal and tragedy of The Small Faces. Most notably, splitting the role of Steve Marriott into two parts – Old Steve and Young Steve – gives an interesting dynamic to the piece.
Harrison also plays the role of Steve Marriott’s mother, Kay. Her performance as an actress sadly does not meet the quality of her writing. Harrison’s acting feels a little one-dimensional at times and there are a few comical and emotional moments, especially as the show reaches a close, that are disappointingly not carried through with the execution they deserve.
The cast on a whole, however, ensures a highly entertaining show. Chris Simmons (Old Steve) maintains the pace as narrator, all with a vessel of liquor in his hand, and Tim Edwards (Young Steve) successfully adopts Marriott’s cheeky chappie, passionate and complicated personality. The cast ensemble is responsible for much of the comedy in the show and very enjoyable to watch in their multiple roles. On the night of this review, technical issues with lighting and sound, although a hindrance for the audience, did not faze the cast’s performance and their professionalism and charisma prevailed.
Overall, this new musical is not yet at perfection but has an excellent balance of humour, history and heart-warming scenes to provide a feel-good, nostalgic and fun experience. The Small Faces may have only been together for four years, but evidently from the full-house stood on their feet dancing away at the end of the show, their music, and the ‘Mod’ culture is inspiring fans, old and new, today.
Touring Nationwide | Image: Contributed