Perth International Comedy Festival: Bob Downe – BOB, SWEAT & TEARS

Bob Downe returned to Perth after sold out shows at last year’s comedy festival. The fans were avidly awaiting the prince of polyester. A packed Astor Theatre was ready to rock and roll and Downe did not disappoint.

Bob Downe
Bob Downe

This time he had added in an extra dimension with his own personal three piece band. Killer keyboard, rock guitar and “How hot is a lady drummer guys?”

Downe is a good singer who gargles, swallows and mangles his lyrics in hilarious take offs of bands like Little River Band, the Carpenters, Neil Diamond, the Beatles and deliciously Roy Orbison. His exaggerated facial contortions are designed to underline the deep and searing sentiments of the songs. Hilarious!

It’s no holds barred as he recounts this show’s theme, he’s turned straight!

Manning up, he’s switched off the gaydar, “That took Telstra three and a half weeks!”

Local references were cleverly woven into patter and songs; ‘Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa’ will never be the same for me again.

During a blistering musical version of ‘Wipeout’ , Downe slipped offstage and changed from cream polyester safari suit to a snappy three piece pinstriped ensemble, red shirt, red socks and the inevitable white loafers.

Henceforth there were reveries which included Repressed Memory Syndrome, Men’s Sheds and bonding at the Male Retreat.

After a mock farewell, “I wasn’t going anywhere.” Downe returned clad in the truly ghastly Qantas Business Class pajamas, composed of a saggy grey material “So horrible that Spotlight refused to stock it”.

Embroidering on the straight life he now embodies, Downe brilliantly referenced the cycling community, sitting on a high bar chair languidly pedaling as he nattered away.

Where he wins hands down is that his audience is pre-primed and eager to participate.

I know of no other entertainer who can elicit such an immediate and full bodied sing along from an audience. The arm waves were immediate and enthusiastic to the point of “Stop! You’re making me seasick!”

The crowd was up for a top time and they got it in spades. I would guess a large proportion of the audience were return bookers and extremely happy ones at that.

A fabulously entertaining high camp evening of laughs

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