The terrific cast of The Time Machine takes us back to a hippy-dippy era.

Review: Happy trip back to the musical past with The Time Machine

Classic rock songs from the ’60s and ’70s are featured in this engaging local musical revue

BY LANA MICHELIN

ADVOCATE STAFF

Oh, what a feeling. What a rush!

The Time Machine, A Retro Rock & Roll Revue: A Love Story opened with electric energy Thursday night at Red Deer’s Scott Block theatre.

A talented cast of local singers and musicians — led by powerhouse vocalists Kayla Williams from The Dirrty Show and Josh Baynes from local band Oldbury — performed some fantastic rock tunes while wearing truly terrible fashions.

We’d expect nothing less, since this show — conceived and directed by Harley Hay — is rooted in nostalgic songs from 1965 to ‘75.

More than two dozen timeless tunes were performed with an infectious sense of fun by a cast of five singers and six musicians. The songs were strung around a very loose story line about a guy and a girl who meet, fall in and out of love.

There’s no dialogue, apart from narrator Ryan Marchant (from the band KlamDaggers) making such trippy pronouncements as: “Sometimes it takes a little falling-out to fall back into love, like, for real, man, like forever…”

Marchant modeled extreme hairstyles from the era while performing funky versions of Stevie Wonder’s I Wish, and Jackie Wilson’s Higher. His performance of That’s the Way I Like It was sung with synchronized moves with backup singers, Laren Steppler and Michelle Colby (choreographed by Elisa Nixon).

Colby delivered Lady Marmalade while sporting gold lamé bell-bottoms. (Did they glow, or was that reflection from the disco ball?) And Steppler managed to sing, dance — and play a honking big saxophone — without missing a beat.

Hay gave us tmorphing lava lamp designs projected onto screens, vintage video clips of the NASA moon landing, Trudeau-mania, Barbie doll commercials, and the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.

But the most memorable moments came from Baynes and Williams.

Baynes’ voice is tailor-made for rock opera, as shown in his searing versions of Foxy Lady and One is the Loneliest Number. Williams performed a haunting rendition of Sound of Silence and brought down the house with her incredible delivery of Somebody to Love.

The singers also nailed their duet of (The Jackson 5’s) I Want You Back.

My one quibble was with many voices vying for dominance on ensemble numbers, such All You Need is Love. More back-seat harmonizing would have been nice. But it’s a small point in an otherwise terrific show.

Kudos also go to the amazing band that enjoyed every moment: music director Morgan McKee (sax and keyboards), Dave Parfett on organ, Hay and Rob Goodwin on a multitude of drums (and did I hear cow bell?), Jeremy Doody on guitar, and Scott Wiber on bass. Larry Reese also lent a very cool ’60s vibe with his sitar intro.

For a groovy blast from the past, check out The Time Machine until Nov. 12. (Tickets from bullskitcomedy.com)

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

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