His cossie and wig were straight from the seventies (who said flares would never come back?!) and he has an appealing ability to send himself up, as he sends up others. His patter between songs is clever, and well wrought, with his fine ability to seem (and often to be) spontaneous, at the same time as leading seamlessly to the next segment and song.
The songs were familiar and frequently cleverly parodied, with appropriate local references in both songs and patter (“I just love coming to Adelaide – you’re getting TRAMS - bringing you into the 21st century!! Maybe you’ll get PHONES next!”), and even managed to get big Amanda and little Tasmania into the same song.
It is in his songs that he shows his greatest asset: his voice. His mellow baritone can be gymnastically woven around strange and suggestive sounds, but was at his best when he was actually singing. He was expertly backed by John Thorn at the Steinway, who also served as the occasional straight man, and who directed the small ensemble of Shaun Duncan (Bass), Jeremy Hopkins (Drums) and Sam Lemann (Guitar). Very special guest, Fiona Thorn (his “Brazilian Goddess” Pastel Vespa, wife of John Thorn at the ivories) provided the opportunity for some nicely matched duets, including the final medley.
We didn’t actually need the encore forced on us, but that was all part of the camped up act. The whole was a good laugh, but the length – about an hour – was enough.
BOB DOWNE: Live and Swingin’
Part of the 2007 Adelaide Cabaret Festival
20 - 23 June
$36 Conc $32
1 hr 15 mins
BASS or 131 246