Review: All or Nothing at Chesterfield's Winding Wheel

Dami Olukoya and Mark Newnham in All or Nothing.
Dami Olukoya and Mark Newnham in All or Nothing.
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Mod band the Small Faces played at The Vic in Chesterfield in 1963 and this week's production at the Winding Wheel will bring back happy memories for those who were there.

The hit-makers are no more, but their iconic songs and chequered career are faithfully recreated in the must-see musical All or Nothing.

This is a stark, no-holds barred insight into the rocky road to stardom, how fleeting fame can be and the fall-out from success.

Undoubtedly one of the biggest and best productions to be staged at the venue, the sheer size of the lighting columns gives it the wow factor from the moment you walk into the auditorium.

Amid a wall of sound and a blaze of spotlights, an explosive opening focuses on the band's last ever performance which is cut short by volatile vocalist Steve Marriott.

A mature Steve takes up the story, rewinding to his young years in which he set his school on fire, got a job as a child actor in Oliver and rejected an offer of working with the legendary Laurence Oliver.

The big breaks and broken dreams of the Small Faces are charted as are their encounters with unscrupulous managers Don Arden and Andrew Oldham and celebrities such as Sonny and Cher, Dusty Springfield and PP Arnold.

Chris Simmons heads the cast as the older Steve, glass of beer in hand, bottle of spirits later, narrating his life story or hovering around on the sidelines when the actors/musicians playing the Small Face are giving it large.

Mark Newnham is superb as the cheeky young Steve full of bravado and swagger and with a voice beyond compare.

All the classics are there on the 20-strong playlist, from Sha La La La Lee to Itchycoo Park to Lazy Sunday, authentically reproduced in this fitting tribute to a great band.

The show is produced by its scriptwriter Carol Harrison, who plays Steve's mum, and is directed by Tony McHale of EastEnders fame.

Last night's opening performance was delayed for 35 minutes due to a technical problem - but the wait was well worth it.

All or Nothing is playing at the Winding Wheel until Saturday, June 18, and tours to Buxton Opera House in October.

* Were you at The Vic when the Small Faces played and are you going to see All or Nothing? Email your memories, opinions and photographs to: gay.bolton@jpress.co.uk