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June 28, 2013 / Siobhan Argent

Shane Warne – The Musical


Published June 2013 in Beat magazine

Shane Warne the musical

It’s the perfect Aussie-style love story: Bogan Barbie meets Sporty Ken. It’s all ‘happily ever after’ until the text messages start rolling in, after which Ken upgrades to a British B-grade celebrity more famous for wearing safety pins than she is for actually achieving anything. Such is the gist of Shane Warne: The Musical, and to be honest, it’s much kinder than it is cruel. It could really have stuck the knife in, but it plays relatively nice with some truly juicy material.

In general, the musical numbers are diverse and inventive, skewering hypocritical machismo, vicious mid-play sledging and the what-goes-on-tour-stays-on-tour permissive adultery of certain sporting cultures. Casting’s also good, if predictable. Eddie Perfect is spot-on as a sporting layabout who still needs to be able to carry a tune. Lisa McCune, as Simone Warne, has mediocre vocal talent but nails the bogan-beauty accent. Shane Jacobson also turns in a noticeably effective performance as Terry, Warnie’s almost-sensei. He, too, is limited in vocal range but has the right kind of blokey earnestness to take the listener a little by surprise.

The show’s greatest weakness is that it’s not particularly strong on narrative. Every major event in Warnie’s life seems to happen off stage, which can be a little irritating when it makes the musical numbers covering each event feel a little like walking into a room five minutes after someone’s finished talking about you. There are also some racial depictions that skirt dangerously close to reinforcing uninventive racist stereotypes. The Indian bookmaker character is particularly noteworthy in this respect.

It’s strange, but at some points Shane Warne: The Musical! could have done with being less crass. There’s simply so much trashy material pre-loaded into this Warnie’s biography that jazzing up the script with a few C-bombs is like shoving Howard Sattler into a room full of angry women; the target’s just too easy. But if you want a good show and know the Warnie story, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a musical better suited to your tastes.

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