He claims he’s now been knighted as Sir Robert Downe (you can call him Count Downe, geddit?) but that isn’t the only outlandish claim made at this fabulous frolic of a cabaret show. Initially coming out (ha!) in a safari-suit inspired look with fetching cravat, Bob Downe stops mid-song and confesses he just can’t do it. The song is too gay. All the songs are too gay. His whole show is too gay. And he has news for us: he’s not a gay man after all. No. He’s straight as a leaf-blowing, beer swilling, lady-seducing heterosexual. Imagine if Liberace and Elton John had a lovechild. Well, Downe would be much gayer.
Downe is charismatic, funny and oozes fabulousness.
This fabulous alter ego of Mark Trevorrow is a master of the wild, wide-eyed stare and dazzling teeth, famed for his platinum wigs and often dubbed Australia’s ‘Prince of Polyester’. He’s campy, charming and hilarious in a show that is part cabaret, part comedy. I don’t know what’s better: Bob Downe’s voice or his facial expressions. As we say in the industry, the man gives good face.
Backed by a talented five-piece band, with music director John Thorne often playing a foil to Downe’s jokes, the music is slick. Band members are at times in stitches at Downe’s antics, both ad libbed and jokes I’m sure they’ve seen before. He even cracks himself up at times. Music includes Blood Sweat and Tears, Roy Orbison and Burt Bacharach; Downe’s rendition of 24 Hours from Tulsa is updated with Scottish references. He befriends members of the audience and remembers their names so as to be able to converse with or serenade them throughout the show. He has jokes for the locals and for the international audience and is the only comic I’ve seen so far who has managed to deliver a Cliff Richard/Rolfe Harris joke with any class.
Noise pollution from outside does become mildly distracting for us and throws Downe off, but he makes it work by using it as an opportunity to try out his new straight guy persona. Downe is charismatic, funny and oozes fabulousness. It’s the type of show you don’t want to leave.