Imploding Small Faces rock the house
The band doesn’t bear particular physical resemblance to the originals but they certainly sound authentic. Musically the young Steve, Samuel Pope struts with the same self-confidence and nails the Chuck Berry hop and the one legged kick perfectly.
Indeed there is a touch of the Lionel Bart’s (not rhyming slang) about the storyline. Marriott auditions for Oliver and the post war set with its posters, graffiti and corrugated iron could be from Fings Ain’t What they Used To Be with additional pop- cultural references.
He, together with Stanton Wright and Stefan Edwards and Pope are to be congratulated in their seamless transitions from knockabout humour to note perfect performance. Even Chris Simmons gets to join in and duet with his younger self.
The struggle for the band to be taken seriously for their R&B roots against their teeny bop stardom is covered as are the management debacles with Don Arden and Andrew Oldham. The arc from success through drugs to breakup is well delivered . Name-checks for Rene, Mad John and Mrs Jones and her lumbago are typical of Juke Box Musicals but there are some very funny lines, especially from the supporting cast with Daniel Beales and Russell Floyd showing particularly good timing.
As I reflected on a great night’s entertainment and the opening riff from Itchycoo Park re- played in my mind I heard the roar of Vespas through Belgrade Plaza as the scooter boys headed happily home.