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Byron Shire
June 25, 2021

Interview with Bob Vegas

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The wonderful Bob Vegas

Viva Bob Vegas!

The glorious Bob Downe is back with a brand new show: Viva Bob Vegas! at the Brunswick Picture House. He gave Seven the Downe low…

Wow Bob, there’s been a Bob Downe renaissance! Tell me how you made this happen?!!! Or was it divine intervention…

I’m just so grateful to be back on a stage! When the Premiers asked to name the Lock-Downe after me, I remember thinking “Oh, alright, it’ll all be over by Christmas!”… but of course that’s what they said about WW1 wasn’t it? By July last year I realised I’d better learn how to do the interwebs and get my face on those Live Stream thingies, which I did. Believe me, those low Zoom angles didn’t do anybody any favours!

What is the concept for Viva Bob Vegas ?

It’s my tribute to the wild and swinging late night lounge acts of Vegas’s golden era, when everyone – from the dancers to the hipsters to the stars – would gather, in intimate lounges, after the main room production shows were over. Performers like Louis Prima and Frances Faye (Google them!) would work all night – for example, some shows were at 1am, 3am and 5am! and you can imagine how loosey goosey everyone got at those hours! These performers would combine naughty comedy with brilliant jazz and show tunes and that’s the vibe Viva Bob Vegas is recreating!

Why do you love Vegas so much? Which era is it that does it for you?

I’ve visited multiple times and it’s so overwhelming I can never do more than two or three days there. It’s an absolutely unique place – a glittering, shimmering mob-made metropolis in the Nevada desert where (as Elvis sang) day turns into nighttime and back again, with nobody noticing. Every year they blow up another old casino hotel (with everyone buying tickets to watch!) and up goes another shining tower with huge fountains, foyers, animated signage, and of course ever more plush show rooms and theatres. It’s a company town where everyone is in showbiz. Where else in the world can you see Donny & Marie playing side-by-side with Olivia Newton-John, Celine Dion and Michael Bublé – not to mention your choice of ten Cirque du Soleil shows? Bizarre and beguiling in equal measure. What’s not to love?

If you were a Vegas show tune – which one would it be, and what would you wear?

‘Danke Shoen’ and ‘Volare’! A mashup of Wayne Newton’s classic double, and I’d be in my ‘70s self-stripe pimp tux with purpwwwle trim. Wait a minute… that’s exactly what I’m doing in this new show!

Tell me about the band?

A fabulous jazz trio led by my Musical Director, Lindsay Partridge, a music theatre and cabaret veteran, with great local players. They’ll be attacking all kinds of music, from pop to jazz to show tunes and back again. That’s a Bob Downe show – I keep them on their toes!

What should we expect for the show?

A high energy trip to the Vegas of old. And while we can’t go to Vegas, I’m bringing Vegas to you!

20–22 May at the Brunswick Picture House, at 7pm. Tix on brunswickpicturehouse.com

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