Rock ‘n’ Roll productions present the musical All or Nothing. It begins at the end with The Small Faces' final performance at the Alexandra Palace. Rewinding back to the beginning with Steve Marriot (Chris Simmons) reliving the life and times of his once successful band. This expository ‘onlooker’ narrates the audience through the band’s successful years until it’s penultimate moment, with a dark realization of the future of the band, stunningly depicted by Carol Harrison as Marriot’s mother.
It is undoubtably the music of The Small Faces that really lifts the show but, often a quality that lacks in many jukebox style musicals, the music has been very cleverly integrated into the text with a clear feel of musical clarity. Carol Harrison’s book and direction creates a real consistency in this, and ensures that there are no moments where the show just feels like a Small Faces concert.
Peter Small’s lighting design is rocky and heightens the feel of the Mods' musical context. It really reflects Rebecca Brower’s set, which is a raw backdrop of cockney London. Real depth is created on the stage with corrugated metal sheets and sliding sheets suggesting other areas that the set extends to.
Chris Simmons plays an emotionally charged Steve Marriot. His reflection of Samuel Pope as Young Steve Marriot elicits the more mature side to his character, with real empathetic questioning from the audience. Simmons performs with sheer dexterity and strength, showing clear deterioration across the show as he goes from the cool calm Marriot with a beer in hand, to a broken and visually distraught man.
It is the actor-musician performers who make up the Small Faces band that really steal the show. They are literal reflections on what older Marriot is thinking and narrating throughout, but you can't help but fall in love with their love for music. The cheeky attitude of Ronnie Lane (Stanton Wright) and Ian McLagan (Josh Maddison) as they enter the music shop at the start is what begins the journey of The Small Faces and their partnership with cocky Steve Marriot (Samuel Pope).
A moment of tension arises as the band reach success and Jimmy Winston (Joseph Peters) is kicked out the band in replacement of Kenney Jones (Stefan Edwards), who really captures the essence of the 'lad' attitude of the band with his opening words: "I didn't realise you lot were a bunch of short arses like me!". There is notable strength from Daniel Beales, who adds real comedy as he multiroles between characters, contrasting the antagonistic attitude of Russell Floyd as the band’s manager.
There is no ‘or’ at the Belgrade this week – you get ALL from this production and the musical’s stunning cast will have you rocking into the night.
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