Sunday, 9 April 2000

Bob Downe- Whiter! Brighter! April 4, 2000

By Bob Downe (Mark Trevorrow)
at The Capitol Theatre, April 9 to 23, 2000
Bookings: Ticketmaster 136 100
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

The glare from Bob Downe's whiter than white teeth is enough to wake the dead. So is the reflected light from his lime green crimplene.

Bob Downe has yet another hit show in Whiter! Brighter! which is part of the Melbourne Comedy Festival. His inimitable style uses a Magimix blend of toothy TV show host, schmalzy cabaret acts, excruciating jazz dance routines and painfully recognisable 70's disco tunes including "Love is in the Air" and "I Love the Night Life."

His parody is always dangerously close to the edge of reality that makes it impossible to take a regular club act seriously ever again. Go into any Gold Coast club or casino cabaret room and you will see even the audience is wearing cheap lamè and a bad toupeè.

His act is impeccable, right down to the details of Bob's fictionalised character and personal life story.  He is cheap, camp, crass, suburban and conceited: Mr. Amateur talent show from Murwillumbah makes good.

The Bob Downe character becomes more of a male Edna Everage as years pass. His stories of the family caravan park with mum, Ida Downe, and his slatternly, drunken Auntie Bev, are hilarious. Bob is definitely white boy trailer trash of the first order.

Bob Downe, AKA Mark Trevorrow, moves almost as well as his Apple Fresh Dancers (Ashley Evans, Amber Field) for whom he cunningly enlisted jazz dance legend, Tony Bartuccio as choreographer. The routines makes the 1970's Channel Nine dancers look classy.

The show takes place in the striking Burleigh Griffin Capitol Theatre which, quips Bob, "was designed by Frank Burleigh Thring." Bob's material, which is cleverly tailored for a Melbourne audience, ranges from the disaster of Swanston Walk to Chadstone, Barbra Streisand and the Sydney Olympics.

The songs get tackier and the dances cheesier while the costumes changes continue with cuffed trousers, fringed flares and loud shirts in a fiesta of synthetics. (costumes by Rose Chong and Ida Downe)

It is much more fun to be close to Bob. The back block in the Capitol is too far away from the stage to get the full glare of Bob's rolling eyes, his insincere grin and naughty asides. This is masterly parody.

by Kate Herbert f

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