All or Nothing at New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

by Julie Wallis

All or Nothing at New Alexandra Theatre

All or nothing the mod musical is at the New Alexandra Theatre all this week. Yet another fabulous production based on real life events, the story centres around the early days of 1960’s group The Small Faces.

I arrived at the Alex to sea of mods fully decked out in their fishtail parkas and showing off their Lambretta and Vespa scooters, it was quiet the welcome and really set the tone for the night.

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This show follows the usual format of telling the story of the bands formation whilst interspersing classic hits from The Small Faces, the actors playing their instruments live on stage make for another show with a concert feel to it. I do appreciate a good actor who is also very talented and can play an instrument.

This production has Carol Harrison both staring as Kay the mother of Steve Marriott and director of the show. Carol has done a fantastic job as director but for me I have to admit to loving the part she plays as Kay, she thoroughly channels her inner Barbara Windsor, with her big hair, tiny dresses and genuine east end accent.

The story is narrated by the ghost of Steve Marriott as played by Chris Simmons who introduces us to his younger self as played by Samuel Pope, with Steve the elder swilling pints and getting more drunk as the show progresses, he was quiet comedic with his slurred speech and shirt tails hanging out. There are a couple of funny moments in this but for the whole it’s just the story of the band and how they really were exploited by their manager.

I initially thought I did not know The Small Faces but once they started playing some of their hits, including Itchycoo Park, Lazy Sunday and of course All or Nothing then I knew who they were, but not knowing anything about this band really did not detract from my experience at all.

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I loved their appearance on Top of the Pops, it was a lighthearted moment with a very funny Tony Blackburn as played by Daniel Beales, who also played Sonny of Sonny and Cher fame and Stanley Unwin. Although doing a Stanley Unwin is incredibly difficult and for anyone who does remember Stanley’s act can I just say Stanley made it all look so easy.

The list of stars goes on, with Dusty Springfield, Rod Stewart and Cher all appearing at various points in the show.

As we left the Alex I was chatting to a lady who had been up dancing in the aisles all evening, she had travelled from Coventry for this show and had previously travelled to London to see it, that’s one dedicated fan. Her dedication paid off though, the cast had her up on stage for the final curtain, what a lovely gesture.

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The show ended with the usual big number ending and a standing ovation. It was a great show but I left with a feeling of sadness at how the bands manger had made more from them than they had. But nevertheless a feel good show about a genuinely talented band, set in the days before the X factor, when it was real talent that won bands their army of fans. I recommend you take your parents or your grandparents, give them a treat and give yourself a history lesson.

All or Nothing is another great show that everyone should see, especially if you love musical theatre.

See All or Nothing at The New Alexandra Theatre until Saturday 8th April, Tickets here:

Julie was invited to see All or Nothing for #BrumHour by New Alexandra Theatre this is her honest view.