Get over to the Melbourne Cabaret Festival this year for DREW DOWNING’S ULTIMATE 90s PLAYLIST:
During high school, it was all about Saturday morning Video Hits and the Dawson’s Creek soundtrack for Drew. Twenty years later, it still is. Get your Sketchers on, call your party of five and prepare for a night of 90s bangers and nostalgia with cabaret rockstar Drew Downing and his infamous stage band.
Read on for 5 minutes with Drew Downing:
How would you describe your show to someone who knew nothing about it?
Besides “it’s bloody awesome”? It’s a celebration of 90s culture and nostalgia, delivered through a stack of hit tunes by Spice Girls, Hanson, Lisa Loeb, Backstreet Boys and Wet Wet Wet to name a few.
A homage to Saturday mornings circa 1996. Getting up to watch Rage, Saturday Disney and Video Hits. Calling your best friend after Dawson’s Creek on Monday nights. Hearing Gangsta’s Paradise for the first time.
Even if you don’t know much about 90s music, audiences will enjoy the cheesiness and joyousness of it all.
What/Who was its inspiration?
During the 2018 Melbourne Cabaret Festival, I presented God Only Knows: The Songs of Brian Wilson. The show was a hit, with particular interest from patrons of my generation. Many of them told me they wanted to add a Backstreet Boys or Spice Girls show.
I mean, this show needed little encouragement to happen, but the 90s is retro now so it’s coming into fashion again.
I also just wanted to wear my jeans and high tops on stage.
What do you think is its best quality?
The set list. Boy, do we have some unexpected bangers lined up! The show is packed full of those songs you forget about, hear it again and instantly remember all of the lyrics.
Also the band. Because they’re awesome.
Why should people see it?
The show is simply a good time. That’s the way the director Clary Riven and I have designed it. We want the audience to sit down, have a drink with friends and enjoy some great music in a flashy stage show… and we are definitely bringing the flashiness and glitz this year!
If there is one thing you would like to say to your fans, what is it?
Who or what has been the greatest influence in your career?
As a performer, I don’t think I’ve been overly influenced by any particular artists. My passion for performing comes from a place of wanting to share music with people. Anyone who wants to listen. So in that sense, my greatest influences remain my school music and drama teachers who imbedded in me a passion for sharing skills, interests and ideas.
Who makes you want to sing?
That’s a tough question. Jon Bon Jovi makes me want to sing. That doesn’t necessarily mean I can actually sing his songs!
When did it become clear to you that music and entertainment were your passion?
Seeing RENT in 1999 was a complete game changer for me. It was everything I loved about the stage, rock music and theatrics. It excited me about making theatre and entertainment. Christine Anu’s Mimi remains the most insanely good performance I’ve ever seen.
What does music, song and entertainment mean to you?
Music brings us together. It’s a vehicle for us to learn, share and celebrate.
Music stands by me. It’s with me always and nourishes me in ways I still can’t really describe.
What are 3 words that describe you?
Passionate. Creative. Overcommitted.
What are 3 things that would surprise people to learn about you?
1) I am a huge Star Wars fan.
2) I originally started studying to become a flautist.
3) I am incredibly impatient.
What is next for you?
Straight into remounting an original work in October, plus assisting other creatives in bringing their shows to life through Front & Centre Australia.
Melbourne Cabaret Festival from Wednesday 19 until Sunday 30 June 2019, Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel St, Prahran. Bookings: http://melbournecabaret.com