All or Nothing – The Mod Musical at the Arts Theatre
It is all about the drugs, sex and rock‘n’roll in Carol Harrison’s musical All or Nothing, which is playing for the first time in the West End at the Arts Theatre of London. The cast have toured around cities in the UK to full houses and cheering crowds and now they have come to blow the capital’s mind. And they certainly did that at yesterday’s premiere, showing the audience what passion for music can create.
All or nothing is the story of British band The Small Faces, who were a hit in the 60s, epitomising what “mod culture” was all about. Many might say that Harrison, who appears as lead singer Steve Marriot’s mum and directs the play, took a gamble when she wrote this musical, but her love of the band and the era shines through – and she was not wrong, as it has been a huge success. The show follows the rockers through the highs and lows of their career, including their peak with the single All or Nothing in 1966 and their eventual break-up two years later after they were ripped off by their manager.
The entire cast are over-the-top in a good way – a universal flamboyance and sense of fun, from the leads to the dancing girls who double as crazed fans. Among the standouts are Daniel Beales in dual roles as Sonny Bono in a pair of tight Oxford jeans and well-known BBC presenter David Jacobs, in a hilarious role that had last night’s audience laughing out of control. Karis Anderson as PP Arnold electrifies us with The First Cut Is the Deepest, and the actors who play the young and old Steve Marriot are both excellent. Chris Simmons as Steve’s ghost pulls off a tremendous transformation and Samuel Pope’s vocals are out of this world.
The stage design and the costumes befit a generation that was known for being super stylish, and this attention to detail enables theatregoers to fully immerse themselves as they listen to a catalogue of the band’s best tunes, including Whatcha Gonna Do About It, Sha La La La Lee, All or Nothing and Itchycoo Park.
The show is so immersive, it’s a struggle not to join in, like one might do at a concert or watching a film at home. At times, it feels more like a movie, and the audience’s reaction underlined how this musical will not only make a special connection with those revisiting the mod times, but anyone encountering the era for the first time. All or Nothing is the coolest musical on Earth, classy and comedic, and the music a revelation.
Photo: Phil Weedon
All or Nothing – The Mod Musical is at the Arts Theatre from 6th February until 11th March 2018. Book your tickets here.
Watch the trailer for All or Nothing – The Mod Musical here: