All Or Nothing: Review

Telling the story of The Small Faces rise to fame from a wannabe rhythm and blues band up until their much documented break-up on stage at Alexandra Palace, All Or Nothing is an engaging and hugely entertaining new musical.

By Manchester's Finest | October 4th '16

Telling the story of The Small Faces rise to fame from a wannabe rhythm and blues band up until their much documented break-up on stage at Alexandra Palace, All Or Nothing is an engaging and hugely entertaining musical.

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With a book by Carol Harrison and directed by Pat Davey, All Or Nothing
delves into the troubled past of a band who started out as fresh faced and
full of attitude teenagers who wanted to change the ‘Mersey-beat’ scene
and deliver something fresh, raw and exciting. We follow the band as they
change from cheeky newcomers into a top sellers racking up iconic hits
including Itchycoo Park, Lazy Sunday, Sha La La La Lee and of course All
Or Nothing until years of constant working, exhausting touring, clashes of
ego and general disillusionment with life at the top takes its tragic toll.

The show is narrated by an older, no longer with us, Steve Marriot (Chris
Simmons) looking back at the story of his life while his younger self
performs in front of him, his narration is witty, revealing and brings a great
pace to the production.

Thoughtful and at times nostalgic, Simmons gives
an outstanding performance, we see him go from light-hearted, dancing
round the stage to crumbling before our eyes as the lifestyle becomes too
much for his younger self, the liquor bottle becomes his constant
companion as he smokes and drinks himself past the point of no return.
The use of an on-stage narrator works extremely well, Simmons swiftly
creates a warm relationship with the audience and gently guides us
through his compelling tale.

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The four cast members playing The Small Faces are excellent, Kenney
Jones, (Drew-Levi Huntsman) Ian McClagan (Joshua Maddison), Ronnie
Lane (Joshua Dowen) and Steve Marriot (Tim Edwards). All four act and
play throughout, their musical pieces are tight and their scenes together
authentic from bright-eyed wannabee hit makers to worn out and irritated
pop stars, each cast member gives their absolute all.

This isn’t a musical with narrative dropped in around it’s a well written play which uses the music of its subject to ​great effect.

Special mention must go to Carol Harrison who as well as writing the book
delivers a moving performance as Kay Marriot, mother of Steve. Carol
delivers not only comedy and plenty of laugh out loud moments but also
emotional and intense moments as she sees the tragedy that is unfolding
before her.

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Rebecca Brower’s set is simple and effective, allowing the music and story
to take centre stage here. This isn’t a musical with narrative dropped in
around it; it’s a well written play which uses the music of its subject to ​
great effect. With authentic 60’s clothing as well as props this is a piece
that has been developed with true love and affection. The audience
lapped up the witty jokes and cheeky quips and many a sound of
recognition was heard as the cast kicked into one of their classics. All Or
Nothing makes for a fabulous night out, fun, feisty and totally fabulous!
On at Buxton Opera House until Weds 5th Oct
Manchester Opera House 18th Oct – 22nd Oct

Tickets here.