The Only Way is Downe
The gloves are off as showbiz stars gather to roast Australia’s ‘Prince of Polysester’ Bob Downe in this hilarious ACON fundraiser. Lachlan Bennett reports.
For many years, Australia’s own ‘Prince of Polyester’ Bob Downe has captivated the nation with his camp antics, ostentatious personality, enchanting singing voice and his slightly unnerving smile.
Now, the spotlight-loving icon will have the details of his life and career revealed – and ridiculed – at his very own roast event, which will raise funds for LGBTI health organisation ACON.
Bob Downe’s All-Star Mardi Gras Roast will see Australian celebrities gather to celebrate Downe, whilst also hurling light-hearted insults, telling embarrassing and unheard anecdotes, and comically critiquing his work.
Bob Downe is the comic creation of Melbourne-born entertainer Mark Trevorrow.
Trevorrow developed the character in the 80s as a cheesy, camp media star and fictional daytime television host.
Throughout his career, Downe has performed many shows, released several albums and hosted the television coverage of the Mardi Gras Parade in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
“I’m absolutely dreading it,” Downe tells SX.
“I only said yes [to the roast] because I didn't think for a moment it would actually happen.
“A pitcher of my special ‘Rescue Remetinis’ will be on hand beside me, all night, and a live microphone – I ain't gonna sit there all night silently copping abuse like a Mexican Day of the Dead puppet or Joan Rivers – same thing.”
Among those attending the roast is Australian author, TV personality and Downe’s “old mate” Gretel Killeen.
“I’d like to say that since [Bob] and I first met many years ago he has changed and grown as a human being, but he hasn’t really,” Killeen tells SX.
“I first met Bob when I was about twenty. I thought he was the perfect man, bright and funny with a fabulous wash-and-wear dress sense. You can take him anywhere – other than close to an open flame.”
Joining Killeen will be showbiz and cabaret icon Trevor Ashley, who first encountered Downe after seeing him perform on television.
“I thought he was hilarious,” Ashley tells SX. “I went to see his live shows and remember leaving the theatre with a sore throat from laughing so much.”
Ashley decided to get involved with Downe’s roast because of his experience hosting drag doyenne Mitzi Macintosh’s roast in 2010.
“[Mitzi’s roast] was a no-holds-barred evening and I’m sure this will be the same,” Ashley says.
Other celebrities roasting Downe include radio host and writer Wedny Harmer, actor and SX columnist Phil Scott, theatre actress Queenie van de Zandt, funnyman Scott Brennan and comedian Jane Markey, who will attend as Mrs Ida Downe.
[Image] Ready to be roasted … Bob Downe.
Bob Downe’s All-Star Mardi Gras Roast, Wednesday, February 27, 8pm, Carriageworks, 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh. Tix $65 (standard seating)/$75 (cabaret seating: tables and chairs at the front). Bookings: www.ticketmaster.com.au.