Award-winning actress Carol Harrison brings her passion for The Small Faces to The Hawth, Crawley (June 6-9).
After trying out the musical in Worthing a couple of years ago, All or Nothing is now on tour after a successful seven-week run in London – a remarkable achievement for Carol who not only wrote it but stars in it.
The piece tells the tale of Kenney Jones, Ian McLagan, Ronnie Lane and Steve Marriott, four charismatic young kids from east London, lads with humour, attitude, passion and above all talent.
They became The Small Faces and were rocketed into the big time only to discover the path to success is paved with exploitation, betrayal and ultimately tragedy.
“I reckon they are the most unsung band of the 1960s,” says Carol who plays Steve’s mum Kay Marriott. “Their musical legacy is just incredible. The general public might not know the songs are theirs, but they will know the songs. And they were so highly regarded by other musicians who have based themselves on The Small Faces, people like Paul Weller.
“They were the first and most iconic mod band. I am into the mod scene, and I just love the whole culture, and that was part of what I wanted to celebrate. They are the band that best represents that. The Who were made into mods, but they were not mods to begin with. The Small Faces were mods from the start.
“I grew up in the 1960s, and it was the most incredibly-exciting time. Everything was new and exciting and radical, and as a teenager, it was just great to be alive. There was just so much happening, and The Small Faces’ story is the most iconic rock ‘n’ roll story you can have. They were huge and had a huge following and still have. But it is the archetypal rock ‘n’ roll story. They made albums and sold lots of albums but didn’t get their royalties until after two of them had died.”
As for frontman Marriott: “I think he was the most amazingly-charismatic character, one of the greatest voices that this country has ever brought out. The show reflects their years of fame.”
And that means the musical is packed full their timeless hits, including ‘Whatcha Gonna Do About It’, ‘Tin Soldier’, ‘Lazy Sunday’, ‘Here Comes the Nice’, ‘Itchycoo Park’ and, the show’s title track, ‘All or Nothing’.
Adding to the attraction is the fact that it is all played live: “The actors play the music. There are no backing tracks. They are actually playing it there in front of you.”
As part of the cast, Carol is Marriott’s mum: “She is feisty and strong. She has a unique relationship with her son, very fiery but very loving. We have had grown-men cry in the show – with sadness and with laughter. It’s a rollercoaster musical ride through their story. There are moments of great humour and sadness.”
Carol is delighted with the way the show has developed since its early-days try-out in Worthing: “It was still in a very raw state, but we have been honing it since then, but it has also been about raising the money for it, getting the investors in. The show was there quite a while ago, but it was quite difficult to get the investment because it is not the usual fluffy ’60s juke-box musical. There are lots of laughs, but there is also the pathos. There is a huge amount to it.”
Tickets cost £25 (discounts £20, groups of 10 or more £17.50). Call 01293 553636 or visit www.hawth.co.uk.
Visit www.allornothingthemusical.com to find out more.
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