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Nicola Wright

Review: ALL OR NOTHING at The Ambassadors Theatre

After a long tour and a limited run at The Arts Theatre, ALL OR NOTHING, the Mod musical, transfers to the Ambassadors Theatre. Thanks to the small size of this West End theatre, the show retains an intimate feel and the audience are fully immersed into the music and journey of pop group The Small Faces.

All or Nothing - The Mod Musical Alfie Harrison-Foreman in All or Nothing at the Ambassadors Theatre

From their East End roots the show charts the band's rise in the music industry, the exploitation by their scrupulous managers, and finally the break up after four years which led to lead singer, Steve Marriott, leaving the band.

Carol Harrison is to be congratulated, not only has she written, directed, and produced All Or Nothing, she also plays Marriott's mother Kay, and her passion for the band and the era is brought to life in this feel good show. With the addition of perfect costume design by Charlotte Espiner and choreography by Cameron Hall the audience are transported back to the 1960's and the Mod scene.

The musical opens as it ends, with Chris Simmons as older Steve narrating from beyond the grave ‘his’ story. Younger Steve is played by Samuel Pope and the two actors compliment each other beautifully, the younger Steve full of bravado and cocky attitude, and Simmons reflecting on his past. Drink in one hand and cigarette in the other, he initially enjoys watching his youthful self, becoming increasingly frustrated as he relives his mistakes and watches his self destructive behaviour and ultimate falling out out with the rest of the band.

The ensemble cast are all excellent often playing multiple roles, Karis Anderson as the soulful PP Arnold deserves a mention, as does Daniel Beales with his excellent comic timing, stealing many of the scenes as he brings a variety of characters including Tony Blackburn and Sonny Bono to life.

The actors playing the band members, Stefan Edwards (Kenny Jones), Alexander Gold (Ian Mclagan) and in particular Stanton Wright as Ronnie Lane, are all well cast in their roles and are superb musicians, and it goes without saying that it is the live music which is the key to the success of this show.

The sound in the theatre was perfect for the space and by the finale the cast had the audience up on its feet singing along to classics, 'All Or Nothing' 'Itchycoo Park' and 'Lazy Sunday'.

This is not 'another jukebox' musical, it has been carefully researched by Carol Harrison, who spoke to friends and family of the group to gain insight into the bands history. As a result, All Or Nothing is a well documented piece and will appeal not only to those who were fans of The Small Faces back in their prime, but to a whole new generation as well!

All Or Nothing tickets