Shane Warne: The Musical
|Shane Warne: The Musical|
|Premiere||10 December 2008: Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne|
|Productions||2008 Australian tour
2009 Helpmann Award Best New Australian Work2008 Green Room Award Best New Australian Musical
Shane Warne: The Musical is a musical comedy by Eddie Perfect based on the life of Australian cricketer Shane Warne. The Daily Telegraph described the musical as "a warts-and-all account of the spin bowler's controversy-laden career and roller-coaster personal life set to soul, rock, opera, gospel music – and even a bit of Bollywood."
The musical consists of two acts: the first act covering Warne's aborted Australian rules football career, his marriage and his rise to success as a Test cricketer while the controversial issues that Warne was involved in; such as his drug offence, infidelity and the John the bookmaker controversy feature in the second act. The musical finishes with a chorus "Everyone's a little bit like Shane".
The musical contains a series of songs about various incidents in Warne's life both on and off the cricket field, including:
- "The Tale Of Warne";
- "Get Offa The Couch";
- "How do you spell success? AIS";
- "We're Going There";
- "Piss It All Away";
- "The Ball";
- "Payin' Attention Now";
- "Dancing with the Stars";
- "We Never Cross The Line";
- "The Away Game";
- "Is The Sun The Moon?";
- "I'm Coming Home";
- "Shine Like Shane";
- "What About That, Shane?";
- "The Ashes";
- "Bunny in the headlights" (about Daryll Cullinan); and
- "What an SMS I’m in".
After five years of solo cabaret shows, Perfect had wanted to write a full-scale musical. Seeking a subject, Perfect reflected that: "with every headline I read about Warnie, came the realisation that here was a simple yet complicated, positive yet flawed, honest but naive, charming, philandering, freakishly talented and endlessly divisive man. And that, I thought, is a great character."
The Adelaide Cabaret Festival presented a work-in-progress showing on 17 June 2007 at the Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre. The 2008 Melbourne International Comedy Festival included a further showing at the Hi Fi Bar and Ballroom.
The full Australian production, directed by Neil Armfield with choreography by Gideon Obarzanek and with Perfect in the title role, opened at the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne on 10 December 2008. It toured to the Regal Theatre in Perth from 18 March 2009 and the Enmore Theatre in Sydney from 15 May 2009.
A 2013 revision included a new beginning and ending, new scenes and a revised structure, four new songs and new characters including Liz Hurley. It played short seasons in June for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival at Her Majesty’s Theatre, then at Hamer Hall in Melbourne. This production, directed by Simon Phillips, had a cast that included Perfect, Lisa McCune, Shane Jacobson and Christie Whelan-Browne.
A cast album was recorded during the season at Hamer Hall and released in 2014.
While initially suspicious of the project, Warne later gave his approval after watching the show, saying "I think Eddie and his team have written the musical in a respectful and sympathetic way, and that they have captured my fun, larrikin side."
The musical has been able to draw an audience that would not normally attend musicals with Perfect saying "You see young blokes making their way to their seats carrying armfuls of beers for their mates, just like they do at the cricket. It's like Reformation theatre when people were buying oranges to throw at the actors – why shouldn’t they have fun."
Reviews for the musical have been mainly positive.
- Herald Sun: "[The musical] is a wild, funny, outrageous, and by the end, surprisingly moving account of the champion spin bowler's life so far. [...] Among the fun, there's genuine respect for [Warne's] enormous talent but it doesn't gloss over his personal failings."
- The Independent "The mid-field marriage of a likeable star, fake bowling, plenty of sporting puns, and a moderate raunch factor had the crowds chuckling and clapping along. [...] [The musical makes] his life an appealingly debauched song and dance, playing with musical styles from nicely-harmonized gospel to gangsta rap."
- Australian Stage: "The story is thin, the songs are wordy and the sound wasn’t great, so many of the lyrics were lost. [...] Without wanting to cut down a tall poppy, there are certainly holes in the script and score. But who cares!? The performances by the ensemble cast are brilliant, the packed audience loved it, the upfront this-is-what-I-am-and-who-gives-a-shit-what-you-think-about-me attitude (reflecting Shane's own character) is refreshing, the show will bring in thousands of audience-goers who love sport and Shane, but rarely go to the theatre (which is fantastic), so what more can a new Australian musical do?"
- Gideon Haigh, The Guardian: "Perfect's vision is an almost unimprovable mingling of satire and homage, cheek and deference, music and comedy."
Awards and Nominations
- 2008 Green Room Awards
- 2009 Helpmann Awards
- 2009 Victorian Premier's Literary Award
- Prize for Musical Theatre Script (winner)
- Malkin, Bonnie (10 December 2008). "Shane Warne backs musical based on his life". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
- Boztas, Senay (10 December 2008). "Warne's life flashes before his eyes – to music". The Independent. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
- Gruber, Fiona (19 January 2009). "Singing with Shane Warne". The Times Literary Supplement. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
- Bailey, John (19 October 2008). "As musical fodder, king of spin faces the first test". The Age. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
- Mathieson, Craig (14 June 2013). "Warne out? Not even a half-chance". The Age. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
- Marks, Kathy (3 December 2008). "Shane Warne: The Musical". The Independent. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
- "Warne musical draws the blokes". Daily Dispatch. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
- Vickery, Colin (5 December 2008). "Wicked wicket ways of Shane Warne: The Musical". Herald Sun. Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
- Kooperman, Paul (13 December 2008). "Shane Warne: The Musical". Australian Stage Online. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
- Haigh, Gideon (12 December 2008). "Warne takes centre stage again as spinner proves Perfect vehicle for satire". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
- "Nominees". Helpmannawards.com.au. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
- Literaryawards.com.au: 2009 2009 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards Shortlists: The Prize for Best Music Theatre Script
- Shane Warne: The Musical - David Spicer Productions (performance rights)