All Or Nothing – A Mod Musical, Theatre Royal Norwich
This new musical is just starting a national tour after a successful London run. It certainly has the look and feel of the 60s – a bit rough around the edges, plenty of angry young men and gritty music.
It looks at the rise and pretty quick demise of the Small Faces, four East End boys who were at the vanguard of the Mod movement so yes, there are sharp suits and the odd scooter on stage, too.
I felt it played to those who know their story but also takes in a wider look at this era of British culture which surely remains the most pioneering and plain exciting yet!
Lead singer and songwriter Stephen Marriott, beautifully played by Mark Newnham, dominates the plot, a bit, you sense, like he did the group, and we witness how they come together, their exploitation of girls and drugs, how they themselves were exploited and how it all ended in a classic band bust up.
And along the way we are treated to a selection of their hits including Itchycoo Park, Tin Soldier and Lazy Sunday, plus some great dancing.
An older Steve, played by Chris Simmons (who I have to say I recognised from The Bill) acted as a narrator and convincingly conveyed the self destruct button that many of this decade’s bright young stars seemed to possess.
It’s a thoughtful, gutsy show, and a pleasant alternative to the many saccharine musicals currently on the road.
All or Nothing runs until Saturday, call 01603 630000