Wednesday, 18 August 1999
Bob Downe Million Sellers, Aug 18 1999
at The Continental Cafe until September 5, 1999
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
It's time to recast The Boy from Oz. Bob Downe has the cheesy dance steps, an even cheesier grin, a collection shirts to weep for and several dozen 60's and 70's hit songs. He is also as camp as Rosebud in January and he even has a showbiz "girlfriend" to fool the world into believing he is straight.
Million Sellers is relentlessly funny. It is Bob Downe at his absolute tip-top. He leaves your face hurting and the groovy opening night audience at The Continental Cafe howling for more.
Downe, if you have been on another planet for a few years and do not know, is the alter ego of Mark Trevorrow, who is seen on Good News Week occasionally, singing love duets with Paul McDermott.
In Million Sellers, he sings duets and medleys with Pastel Vespa, a colourful and dizzy Brazilian-Italian club singer whom he met when she jumped ship from an Italian cruise liner cabaret act. Her op-art moo-moos rival even Bob's lime green seersucker suit. The two are accompanied by musical director, John Thorn, who plays up a storm.
Bob's guest, Pastel Vespa, is a vapid try-hard cabaret singer who could have been a loser of the Eurovision Song Contest. She is a good foil for Bob. Despite Pastel's perky presence and songstress persona, she is no competition for Bob's rapid fire gags and ridiculous crooning style derived from every act ever seen on an RSL club stage.
The humour is both camp and parochial. Bob thinks he is world class but his stardom is local: he has toured the North Coast of NSW. He is the master of kitsch and the king of suburbia. His material is perversely Australian. He refers to Bernard King, Vesta Nasi Goreng, the CWA, Knox City and chops for dinner.
Bob has an ego the size of the universe and a personality as loud as his sunshine yellow crimplene suit. He encapsulates the vacuous vanity and petty jealousy of the B-grade celebrity and never recognises his "nobody" status. Every line, joke or song is accompanied by a flurry of Channel Nine Dancers' choreography, with twirls grapevines and skips.
The song list is a litany of hits: Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves, Sunshine of My Life, Do it to Me One More Time, Windmills of My Mind, Summer Wine. It's a great singalong with the flavour of Peter Allen, Trini Lopez, Don Lane, Sonny and Cher and Denise and Ernie.
By Kate Herbert