Mod musical, All Or Nothing, first came to the underground stage of The Vaults in late March, providing the first onstage re-telling of the life and music of The Small Faces.
I attended press night on 7th May and was thrilled by what I saw, with a confident Mark Newham leading the pack of four, as the young Steve Marriott, the whole thing seeped with potential to be something amazing. Two weeks ago, I travelled back to the graffiti tunnel of Waterloo to see the show bid a final goodbye to its unique London home. Late July marked a cast change, as Tim Edwards took over from Mark providing the show with a new face and with big boots to fill I was eager to see where the show stood now.
The whole piece sang from start to finish and I was left utterly astonished at the tremendous progress made in a mere five months. From the first note of Rollin’ Over, Tim captured the pent-up frustration of a young Marriott as he played what was to be one of The Small Faces’ final shows at Alexandra Palace. The running time now tightened up to a neat two and a half hours, instead of the previous three, with the skillful edits giving the show a better sense of pace, as the older Steve (Chris Simmons) transported us through their story.
Tim completely shone as a young Marriott, looking at ease at having taken on such a character. Musically, his vocals are the closest match I’ve ever heard and acting-wise he caught the cheeky, fearlessness of Steve and embraced it whole-heartedly.
As a company, they bring such a strong sense of unity to the stage, not just from the soulful, iconic mod band at the centre of it all, but from the supporting roles littered around them. There’s a strong sense of atmosphere throughout, a lot of which is down to the authenticity of the piece. All Or Nothing is unlike other shows of the same genre in that it’s completely grounded in the music; almost to the point where the story is secondary. The details of the band’s rise and demise aren’t over-embellished in any way, Carol Harrison keeps the script embedded in East End colloquialisms and a truthful storyline.
Costumes had clearly been upgraded thanks to their initial success during their first London run. The band were sporting stylish Gabbicci shirts from the Modfather Clothing Company while the girls showcased a variety of period dresses from online shop, Love Her Madly; which all helped to add to the faithfulness of the piece.
The songs in the show are all performed with the necessary gusto and unpredictable energy needed to create The Small Faces live persona. Other sounds of the era are nicely interwoven between the scenes: Great Balls of Fire, I Got You Babe and Boom Boom being just a few.
Much like the man himself, the ending is brave and bold, evoking a raw emotional state in the audience. Both Chris and Carol give utterly everything to the moment, giving in to the sadness of a mother having to bid farewell to her son.
If you’re going to support any 60’s story, make it this one!
All Or Nothing is currently on its second leg of the tour, dates and locations can be found here