Friday, 21 June 2013

Shane Warne The Musical, June 20, 2013 ****

Music, Lyrics and book by Eddie Perfect
Hamer Hall, June 20 & 21, 2013
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Stars: ****
Review also published in Herald Sun online on Friday June 21, 2013 and later in print.  KH

  Photo by Meredith O'Shea 

I wouldn’t know a googly from a leg-break, but Eddie Perfect’s updated version of Shane Warne The Musical entertainingly depicts the King of Spin with admiration, wry humour and a fair dose of cynicism. 

Shane Warne is the cricketer-turned-white-toothed-celebrity who triggers love or loathing, depending on your willingness to ignore a great sportsman’s bad behaviour and moral failings.

Warney may have magic on the pitch, but Perfect has the charisma on stage when performing Warne’s life, from his first foray into cricket up to his revamped image and current relationship with Liz Hurley.

In this smartly directed production by Simon Phillips, Perfect’s 23 original songs have witty, complex lyrics and eclectic musical styles that are played by a very tight orchestra led by Iain Grandage. 

Although the new opening scene is a bit slow, the pace picks up with rousing, rowdy songs about Warne’s scrappy, unprofessional attitude to cricket training (AIS) and his love of beer (We’re Going There).

Using his distinctive voice, with its velvety baritone and cunning vibrato, Perfect is magnetic singing Hollywood, a power ballad about heroes, that compares Warne with the Anzacs and Ned Kelly.

In That Ball, Perfect replays Warne’s unforgettable ball that dismissed the England captain, then belts out They’re Paying Attention Now as a challenge to doubters of Warne’s commitment, then sings The Ashes, an anthem to Australia regaining the fabled urn.

One scandal follows another, including the Aussie cricketers’ outrageous, on-field sledging in We Never Cross the Line, and the Indian betting scandal in My Name Is John.

Warne’s infamous sexual frolics are highlighted in The Away Game and in What An S-M-Mess I’m In, as Warne scrambles to manage the scandal triggered by his indiscreet text messages.

Playing multiple roles, the cast of nine actor-singers boasts some stellar performances such as Amy Lehpamer’s funny patter song as the outraged Donna Wright, the English nurse who was the target of Warne’s nasty texts.

Jolyon James uses his vivid, powerful voice as Indian John, Verity Hunt-Ballard is trashy and amusing as Shane’s mum, and Lisa McCune is sweetly dippy as Simone Warne.

Christie Whelan Browne’s mocking depiction of Liz Hurley is hilarious when she sings It’s Not Surgery It’s Love, justifying Shane’s new look: surprised eyebrows, taut skin and lean physique.

“Everyone’s a little bit like Shane,” says the song at the start but, by the finale, Warne’s life is so rarified – this week he’s selling his mega-mansion – that he’s not like us at all any more.

By Kate Herbert

  Photo by Meredith O'Shea 

No comments:

Post a Comment