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All or Nothing The Musical

Bournemouth Pavilion, 24 June 2016

Having read reviews and tweets about All or Nothing over the past few months this visit to Bournemouth was much anticipated. The timing was excellent as the Small Faces had played on the same stage just over 50 years previously. Maybe some of tonight's audience had been there. Essentially the musical is the story of the Small Faces up to to the moment Steve Marriott walked off the stage at Alexandra Palace New Years Eve 1968. The story focuses more on Steve Marriott with Chris Simmons playing the older Steve Marriott as a narrator looking back on his time in the band and reflecting, a drink in his hand at all times. He is very convincing with a fair representation of Marriott's voice and way of talking.

The story of the Small Faces will be known to hardcore fans but even they will be astonished by the level of detail included, small incidents, the inclusion of many characters from the band's life and the factual accuracy. Those who do not know the background or just know the songs will discover the complexity of the story and the wonderful interaction between the characters. As well as the five band members and Steve's mum and dad, there are major characters such as Don Arden, Andrew Loog Oldham, PP Arnold, Stanley Unwin and Peter Frampton but also watch out for Robert Stigwood, Cathy McGowan, Tony Blackburn, Dusty Springfield, Sonny & Cher, Rod Stewart, Liesl the Austrian housekeeper and more.

Of course the music is essential to the story. Most of the band's singles and many album tracks are included as well as some non-Small Faces tracks that help to provide context to the story. However, this is no a tribute band concert and some may be disappointed that not all songs are played in their entirety. The songs are used more to illustrate the story. If you wish to experience a "Small Faces" gig, go and see the Small Fakers. However, the members of the band play the instruments and sing the songs. They do this extremely well. Mark Newnham as Marriott has clearly spent many hours watching Marriott on YouTube as he had the stance and the moves and not a bad voice either. The highlight, musically, was Tin Soldier so no surprise there. This included Dami Olukoya as PP Arnold on backing vocals and her performance was incredible, lending the song tremendous credibility. This brought a tear to the eye. her interaction wit the Small Faces when they first met her and discovering she was an Ikette was priceless.

This must the hardest working cast around. While the members of the band were on stage almost all the time, other cast members played multiple roles, meaning quick costume changes and character changes. This must be an exhausting show to perform! Carol Harrison plays Kay Marriott, Steve's mum, but she also wrote and produced the musical. This was an incredible task with plenty of research, even though being a genuine Eastender and growing up close to Marriott must have helped a lot.

All or Nothing is touring the UK over the next few months and is a delight from start to finish. If it is coming to your town make sure you go and see it. If not, then consider moving house. This is an excellent project that goes a long way towards helping to keep memories alive of this highly influential band that never gained the respect they deserved when they were together. Nice!

Photo: All or Nothing The Musical

Photo: All or Nothing The Musical

Links 2018 Tour Dates
  • 6 February - 11 March - Arts Theatre, London. Booking

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