Eddie Perfect returns to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival to showcase his revamped, reworked and orchestra-accompanied concert version of the multi-award winning Shane Warne the Musical. Starring Perfect in the title role, with Lisa McCune and Shane Jacobson at this side, and subject matter that never fails to make the tabloids, this production has been eagerly anticipated.
Evidently Shane Warne the Musical is an evolving project for Eddie Perfect. Originally staged in 2009 the saga of Shane Warne's life continues to unfold, demanding repeated theatrical additions. This stripped back concert production includes seven 'cricket less' years and, of course, an extended role for Liz Hurley (Christine Whelan Browne).
The story, which focuses more on Warnie's off-field antics than his on-field wizardry, is a charming and comical review of one of Australia's most divisive identities. Eddie Perfect's solo number, 'What an S-M-Mess I'm In', is a clear crowd favourite and an hilarious take on Warne's most notable off-field drama. The “Mike Gatting delivery” is musically immortalised in 'That Ball', where the delivery's significance is compared with the moon landing!
Shane Warne's early days in the AIS were well-received particularly given the numerous references to Adelaide locations and popular culture. In fact, given the audience demographic, Shane Warne the Musical was extremely well received at Her Majesty's Theatre.
Unfortunately however I fear that this production of Shane Warne the Musical didn't reach its full potential. There were numerous sound and microphone issues which tainted the overall product and the choreography was very relaxed and would have benefited from another few days of polish. While Eddie Perfect was the vocal highlight others didn't meet his standard. That said, the story carried the music and the Shane Warne loving (or love-to-hating) audience clearly responded positively.
With all the changes and adaptations the question remains: why change a product that picked up a Green Room Award, a Helpmann Award, a Victorian Premier's Literary Award and widespread critical acclaim? (Another question is: where do you stop? – If Warnie continues his life in the spotlight Shane Warne the Musical may one day be a very, very long production!)