ALL OR NOTHING | London, Arts Theatre

The 1960s “Mod” band Small Faces gave us a number of enduring songs (“Lazy Sunday”; “Itchycoo Park”; the eponymous “All or Nothing”), and a lead singer with a voice of gold. David Bowie once said, “Steve Marriott was the best vocalist that this country has ever produced.”

All Or Nothing offers the group’s fans a tragicomic look at Small Faces’ brief but fiery existence. Risen from the dead, Steve Marriott (Chris Simmons) doubles as the show’s emcee, genial and somewhat syrupy. While period cameos will amuse older audiences in particular, the show’s heart and soul is the music. The acoustics and vocals are never less than fantastic, supported by lighting (Peter Small) and set design (Rebecca Brower) at once unobtrusive and atmospheric.

After two hours of cheerful nostalgia, the final act hits you like a sledgehammer as drugs and ego undo the band. Yet the show, as the title suggests, is a tribute to Steve Marriot’s uncompromising character. And so, thanks largely to a perfectly executed climax, a final rousing rendition of “All or Nothing” feels utterly earned.

Having played to packed houses across the UK, this home-grown musical is coming home to London, in a strictly limited run on the West End. This is show that makes no bones about its nostalgic intent, yet it should be seen by music lovers of all ages. Whether you’re a first-timer or an old-timer, you will come out enriched.

Booking until 11 March 2018. Tickets from £19.50.

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