‘Timeless’ was kick-ass.
Thomas Armstrong-Robley’s ‘Timeless’, was a fantastic production full of classic rock and pop hits from the last century. The intimate Theatre 102 at Redcliffe Musical Theatre, was filled to the brim with killer vocals, a tight-knit band and rockin’ atmosphere.
A five-piece rock band, three backing vocalists, and the one and only Thomas Armstrong-Robley himself brought famous hits by artists such as Abba, The Beatles, Queen, Meatloaf and even Elton John to the stage.
Not only was this a fabulous night of entertainment paying tribute to those past and present superstars, but it also paid tribute to the real-life superstars here in Australia, by supporting the Australian Bushfire Appeal.
The atmosphere is so integral to any gig/cabaret-style production and ‘Timeless’, conceptualised by Thomas Armstrong-Robley, has perfected this. Armstrong-Robley created an intimate and welcoming atmosphere, while still being a consummate professional and incorporating some kick-ass rock tracks.
The audience was invited to sing along, dance and even wave phone torches in the slower numbers. The dinner theatre-style seating arrangement definitely lent itself to this atmosphere and relaxed everyone into the production. Between songs, Armstrong-Robley also incorporated some personal stories from his own life that linked with the artists or songs he was about to perform. This level of intimacy brought the audience into the production, making them feel like his friends or confidants.
The five-piece band for ‘Timeless’ also emulated this personal level of interaction, the audience felt as though they knew every member on stage. Cheeky exchanges between band members and Armstrong-Robley, introductions and classic rock solos all brought the audience into the stage and the world of the band, removing the traditional audience and performer segregation.
Armstrong-Robley has done well in his construction of the band. His lead guitarist Lachy Stewart, who got his own solo ‘Money For Nothing’ which he nailed, was a perfect choice. He had the textbook rock star attitude, and the experience to carry it off. His skill level meant that the show could include many moments of guitar worship reminiscent of Led Zeppelin, ACDC and Queen, highlighted further by key lighting on the instrumentalist.
The choice of electric drums was an interesting one. It was understandable as sometimes an acoustic kit can overpower the other instruments and vocalists, and in a theatre, as intimate as this you don’t want to blast the audience out of their chairs. However, there were some moments where the audience could hear the actual electric pad being hit as opposed to the hi-hat crash it was meant to be. This is the only small fault for the band who were otherwise rhythmically, melodically and energetically perfect.
Armstrong-Robley was accompanied by three skilled backup vocalists Kaley Jones, Georgia Burnett and James Reid. The three were perfectly suited for each other as their strong individual voices blended beautifully to create one whole, rounded sound. As a trio they were strong, and as soloists were even stronger.
James Reid’s rendition of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ was a fabulous piece that sat comfortably in his range and allowed for a relaxed, but still upbeat sing along with the audience. Georgia Burnett did well in her duet with Armstrong-Robley, ‘I Would Do Anything for Love’, showing off incredible vocal strength and skill as she hit the notes with ease and finesse. Her ‘Waterloo’ duet with Kaley Jones was a bit uncertain as the two lost the words briefly, but their voices and personalities carried the song regardless. Kaley Jones for her solo lines in ‘Hold the Line’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ showed off her unique timbre and displayed personality to boot as she sold the songs alongside Armstrong-Robley, matching his charisma and energy.
As the main vocalist of the production Thomas Armstrong-Robley was divine. His obvious talent as a vocalist was something to behold as he effortlessly slid between notes and genres. He not only performed songs from a multitude of contrasting artists, but he emulated them perfectly while still making it his own. As a self-admitted Sinatra fan, it was incredible to see Armstrong-Robley tackle, and perfectly perform, something out of his usual style. Stand out numbers ranged from ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ and ‘New York State of Mind’, to ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ and ‘Dream On’.
Throughout the production he maintained a relaxed state, his conversations with the audience brought them into his own personal bubble, and his professional performances wowed them as though he were the superstars themselves. His final number ‘Hey Jude’ got the whole audience singing along and left everyone in high spirits as they exited the venue.
Overall ‘Timeless’ was a brilliant production, it had everything an audience could ask for: talented performers, fantastic songs, and a comfortable but energised atmosphere.
‘Timeless’ performed in association with Redcliffe Musical Theatre for one weekend only. For more information on the theatre group, visit their website. If you missed the show and want more Thomas Armstrong Robley, check out his Armstrong-Robley’s Website. His first album ‘A Song For You’ is also available for purchase.