All Mod Cons

All Or Nothing

The Mod Musical.

Theatre Severn

19th-21st September 2016

As the audience gathered it was apparent that no one really knew how this show might pan out. Would it have a follow-able storyline or would it be just a tribute concert? It became clear very quickly that this is indeed a show with a narrative; and what a story it was.

Quite apart from the interest of the Shropshire connection, that of guitarist Ronnie Laine who settled with his wife Kate in the South of the county, there was a real cautionary tale to be told.

Told through the eyes of their lead singer, Steve Marriott, All or Nothing follows the path through rags to well, one would like to say riches, but alas this is indeed a story of true rags to rags rock and roll.

Showing Don Arden off in a fairly unfavourable light , he was the manager of the band and had them in a water tight contract which paid the boys in prestige, clothes , cars, drugs and everything else rock and roll; apart from actual cash. When they were finally able to give Arden the slip they were bought of him into a new contract which again caused them grief and ultimate poverty.

These are the songs of a generation, All or Nothing,  Itchycoo Park and Lazy Sunday to name but a few and yet the real artists involved in the record got very little or no reward, whilst the cigar smoking fat cats grew richer by the minute. Unusual that isn’t it? That people doing the hardest work are the ones rarely rewarded as they should be:  whilst others grow rich and fat. So it was in the life of this powerful and formative band.

Using an episodic plot the show presents anecdotal moments linked by a bitter and older Marriott. He follows the boys almost ghostlike and is obviously helpless to do anything but watch it all spiral out of control.  Now this would work superbly only if the guys playing in the band are also wonderful character actors and understand the conventions of true drama. This cast surely does and the whole thing worked a treat offering up a balance of music, solid gold hits and dramatic pathos.

As a consequence this show is a colourful and exciting combination of factuality and great music. Everybody on the stage tonight had a right to be there and the slick, well-oiled production they displayed, can only come from tough work and a deep professional commitment to character and genre.

This is a great show, a sad story but so beautifully told. Writer Carol Harrison will need to load her pen with more ink  as, one imagines, so many people working in the piranha filled pool that is the rock world, feel they have many stories to tell. Maybe she is the one to bring them all to us.

This is a four star review

Owen J.Lewis


Sofia Lewis Sofia Lewis
For many years Sofia wrote here under her male name Owen J. Lewis. She is now mostly writing under her own name of Sofia Lewis. Sofia, who worked on independent radio for over ten years, lives in Shrewsbury and writes plays. She has over 15 titles published and her plays are performed all over the world. She is especially popular in America. Her poetry is also often noted and she writes reams of it most weeks. Since graduating in theatre in 1997 Sofia has been an Actor, Filmmaker, and a Secondary School Teacher. Reviewing theatre is something she thoroughly enjoys and she loves to see great theatre. As a musician Sofia is known throughout the UK she is a folk singer, and is often seen or heard around her native county singing and having fun. Sofia has contributed to for over a decade and enjoys sharing her views on theatre. Sofia has one daughter and grew up in Church Stretton.

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