Shane Warne Musical

Colin and I have been anticipating seeing “Shane Warne – The Musical” for quite some time. We’re both big fans of Eddie Perfect, for a start, and all of the reviews have been largely very positive.

Likened in many of the reviews to Keating – The Musical, I thought it fell short in one important way. In “Keating” you really get a sense of Keating the individual, you get a sense of the person, you actually “care” about him, but in “Shane Warne”, I don’t think I ever once got a sense of him as a person, and thus I didn’t care about him.

For example, when Simone Warne sings the heart-felt song about his infidelity, I thought Shane’s reaction was less than human. Although I understand there may have been a sense of purpose to show him as the self-obsessed narcissist that I’m sure exists, I wasn’t “convinced” by his response.

The second half was much better than the first. It was far more biting. It was much more clever than the first half which was a “Celebration of Shane”, but I still thought it fell short of what it could have been.

And I think it’s because the show was a little unsure of the audience. Contrast that with “Keating” where the character acknowledges the audience attending is full of “inner city elites”, and thus it plays exactly to that audience.

“Shane Warne” seemed always about attracting a broader audience. We knew the people behind us, for example, who came up from Wagga. And as we waited for tickets, the people next to us had come from Campbelltown. But I didn’t get a sense of real enthusiasm in the audience. I didn’t get a sense of genuine excitement about the work.

Seated next to us, for example, was a bloke and his girlfriend. I got the impression this was their “compromise night” where they thought this was a night at the theatre they could both enjoy. They appeared totally unmoved.

It’s a real shame, though, because everyone worked really hard and delivered a fantastic performance (aside from the dud note here and there). Eddie Perfect, in particular, remains a star, even if I thought he spent a little too long in his lower register.

We got a laugh here and there, especially as Colin knows one of the key characters in the plotline quite well. I won’t name names, but remember that we’re both from Wagga Wagga.

I don’t think the early closure of the show in both Perth and Sydney has anything to do with “the recession” or the size of the theatre, as noted in today’s Sydney Morning Herald. I just get the feeling it’s a story no one really cares about.

“There’s a little bit of Warnie in us all” (or something like that), came the refrain throughout the show. I’m not sure if I agree, as I didn’t get any real sense of Shane Warne and his personal motivations from tonight’s show, aside from the self-obsession, the narcisim etc. clearly evident.

And I don’t accept the argument, “but that’s the point about Warnie”, as I think a musical or play or whatever that needs to explain itself, or have someone apologise on its behalf, obviously hasn’t worked.

I hope Eddie recovers from this and goes on to further greatness, as I’m sure he will.

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