Mark Trevorrow introduced the cheesy, polyester-wearing, lounge singer character that became Bob Downe in 1984; and he found the experience was intoxicating.
Police were called to break up a noisy party in a South Yarra flat 40 years ago, but the real crime would have been shutting it down before the performance that launched the career of one of Australia’s most iconic entertainers, Mark Trevorrow.
‘It was a hell of a party,’ Mark says. ‘The number of people who claim they were there couldn’t possibly have fitted into the physical space of the flat.’
It was during the party’s lip-syncing cabaret show that Mark introduced the cheesy, polyester-wearing, lounge singer character that became Bob Downe in 1984; and the experience was intoxicating.
‘The reaction to the show and the excitement of creating the show with my group of friends was incredible,’ Mark says. ‘We started doing other people’s parties and it just snowballed.’
Mark made audiences in Australia and overseas laugh as he toured regularly as Bob.
It wasn’t until he was 40 years old that he took the plunge and began performing as himself.
‘I was a bit reluctant to do it, but then I really enjoyed being myself. In fact, I thought I might give the Bob Downe character up, but then I went back to it with renewed enthusiasm.
‘I do much more serious songs as Mark, and as Bob I will take the mickey out of everything. It’s very different.’
This year is the first time Mark has been part of the Victorian Seniors Festival, but he says he has always had an affinity with older people.
‘I had a very strong response from older listeners when I was presenting on ABC Radio. ‘
Mark was only 25 when he created Bob, who had a much older persona.
‘He was definitely older than I was when I created him —I have grown into him now I am the grand old age of 61.’
PS: The good news for our Seniors Festival reimagined audience is that a second broadcast featuring Mark in character as Bob Downe is scheduled for August.
Watch Mark's performance now.