Over a tannoy we hear an announcement, ‘ladies and gentlemen, please welcome onto the stage: The Small Faces’. In an eruption of applause, the curtain rose to reveal a four piece band wearing funky patterned jackets and velvet flares playing a gig. Just before a beautiful Gretsch guitar was about to be smashed over a drumkit, the stage froze and a cheeky cockney lad introduced himself onstage: Steve Marriott, former frontman of The Small Faces, played by Chris Simmons, knowns most notably for his roles in The Bill, Eastenders, Doctors and Holby City to name a few.
The journey we were about to embark on with Marriott was to watch back over his life after his unfortunate death in the infamous inferno. Pint in hand and a mischievous grin, Marriott sat back and enjoyed the show whilst throwing in the odd bit of cockney banter, giving us the ins and outs and encapsulating the rise and fall of The Small Faces.
Set in the 60’s where the mod phenomenon was pouring over Britain, the musical had it all, the scooters, the haircuts, the fashion and most impressively, live Rhythm and Blues music played by the four charismatic cockneys playing The Small Faces. Marriott watched his younger self through the formation of the band, meeting Kenney Jones and Ronnie Lane; meeting, then kicking out Jimmy Winston (apparently for being too tall) and replacing him with Ian McLagan, the final lineup for the four piece mod band.
A hunger for success led to the band signing into a contract with Don Arden (Russell Floyd), who made the band a roaring success, their dreams becoming a reality as they played Whatcha Gonna Do About It on Thank Your Lucky Stars among and abundance of gigs up and down the country. Exploited and betrayed by Arden, who had spent all of the bands earnings and had started selling them off. Andrew Oldham (played by Joseph Peters, who also played Jimmy Winston) signed the band, with the motto ‘Happy to be a part of the industry of human happiness’. Further exploitation left the band penniless, ‘without a pot to piss in’ as Marriott put it.
A soundtrack of the bands best works were laced throughout the music, from Whatcha Gonna Do About It, to Tin Soldier and Lazy Sunday, and of course All Or Nothing their number one hit. Their music ignited a spark in musicians and became as influential as the likes of The Beatles, with bands like Supergrass and Blur tipping their hats to the band. Despite their small run of just three years, it’s safe to say that The Small Faces did great things for the creative minds to follow them, beautifully portrayed in the musical All or Nothing.
All or Nothing will be at The Regent Theatre until June 3rd.