THE exterior of the Philharmonic Hall looked like a film set from a Quadrophenia sequel.

In Hope Street it looked like 1964 - as impeccably-dressed Mods with scooters stood proudly outside the venue.

Inside, Carol Harrison's theatrical tribute to The Small Faces was electrifying the audience.

It is one of the best stage musical biographies you will see or hear in a long while.

I have seen The Kinks' Sunny Afternoon, but this is more satisfying.

It is perfectly pitched, pacy and poignant and also very funny in places.

This is the bitter-sweet tale of Kenney Jones (Stefan Edwards) Ian McLagan (Josh Maddison), Ronnie Lane (Stanton Wright) and Steve Marriott played by Chris Simmons (ghostly Steve) and Samuel Pope as the alive and kicking Steve.

It is a compelling tale of rags-to-riches-to rags .... Metaphorically speaking.

Four diverse yet charismatic young kids from East London with humour, attitude, passion and above all talent for R and B – ripe and ready for exploitation.

Carol Harrison, a much-loved EastEnders star, plays Kay Marriott – Steve's mum.

She gives a fine performance and deserves full credit for producing a show that has gone beyond the 1million sales figure.

It would certainly make a great film.

She knew the real Steve when she was eight and this is clearly a show from her heart - paying homage to a legendary musical figure.

At 62, I'm sure she still has a crush on the singer-songwriter who died in a house fire in 1991 aged 44.

It is directed superbly and over two hours the audience are treated to a well-crafted story with a beginning middle and an end with some dazzling choreography - '60s style - and sublime musicianship.

There's plenty of cockney humour from the 'geezers' and will Steve’s daughter Mollie as vocal coach and legendary singer P P Arnold as consultant this has authenticity stamped all over it.

No special effects, unless you count a mirror ball.

A stage on wheels emerges every time the band plays a classic song.

There are nods back to the Mods on Top of the Pops and Juke Box Jury.

Above all it is a cautionary tale of being ripped-off by unscrupulous managers such as Don Arden and the stoned Rolling Stones hippie guru Andrew Loog Oldham.

The story of how the Small Faces were ripped off when it cane to royalties is astonishing and heart-breaking.

Anyone thinking of forming a band should watch this show.

It is a celebration of everything Mod and The Small Faces personified that iconic sound.

It is no surprise people come back to see it again and again.

This - its third outing - has played to appreciative audiences of all ages across the UK.

The production opens with the ghost of Steve Marriott who tells us in flashback about his turbulent life from West End in Oliver to Two actors play him as the 'spirited' Steve and as the young rebel on and off stage/This works a treat and you can’t take your eyes off both of them.

The recreation of the classic songs is faultless:

The title track – All or Nothing, Whatcha Gonna Do About It?Itchycoo ParkOnly DreamingTin SoldierLazy Sunday and Sha La La La Lee.

What a stunning back-catalogue.

The versatile, energetic live band is truly exceptional.

When I got home I You Tube-d' all The Small Faces music I could.

I was converted to hard-edged rhythm and blues all over again.

5 Stars - Modern Classic

UK Tour is at Chester Storyhouse from September 27-30.

Tickets from 01244409113.