Bob Downe: Brighter, Whiter

Note: This review is from 2002

Review by Steve Bennett

Sometimes it's good to slip your brain into neutral for a hearty chunk of simple undemanding fun - which is where Bob Downe comes in.

When the wholesome king of safari suit cool shakes his touche to some cheesy disco classic, the camp charm is surprisingly effective.

This well-groomed actor-singer-dancer-hand model can certainly cut a rug, and that's not a reference to the hairpiece, as his combination of spastic gesticulating and bungled choreography, Morecambe and Wise-style, makes for some unabashed entertainment.

And I don't know about funny bones, but Downe has certainly got comedy eyes - darting and staring across the audience to make some exaggerated point.

Odd, then, that the bombastic song-and-dance numbers - accompanied by the bleached teeth and bleached hair of Apple White Dancers Amber and Ashley - only provide a minority of this show.

The rest comprises some fairly low-grade stand-up, including such hack innuendos as "I'm very big down under" and a half-inched routine about his parents telling him that when ice cream vans sounded their jingles, it meant they were out of stock.

These unexciting monologues go on far too long - perhaps Downe's creator Mark Trevorrow is getting to the age where he needs a long recovery time between his bouts of energetic expenditure - leaving audiences eager for the music to start up again.

Odd, too, that one of the few performers capable of producing a barnstorming showstopper of a finale instead closes with a bout of his unexceptional stand-up and a low-key exit from the stage - rather than the big production number you might expect.

If he stuck to what he's good at, this would be a fantastic, uplifting show - rather than the curate's egg it is now.

Review date: 1 Jan 2002
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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