On Thursday night I was treated to a night out at the theatre to see Shane Warne the Musical. I was Tash's guest - she received the tickets from the Arts Centre Melbourne.
Eddie Perfect (who is quite perfect) starred as cricketer Shane Warne - and he certainly could pass for Warne's twin. He wrote the script and composed the music too. His voice is versatile - singing jazz, hitting the high and low notes, rapping and dancing. Perfect.
Eddie updated the original 2008 show to include Shane's recent escapades. There was an orchestra, lighting and turf to represent the MCG, and a stellar cast featuring familiar faces.
Shane Warne the Musical showcased Shane's life - from 1988 when he was chosen to train at the AIS ("how do you spell success? AIS", the cast chanted), the birth of The Flipper (the famous bowling technique), receiving his baggy green, his marriage to Simone Callaghan, ALL the scandals, his retirement, the many, many brand ambassadorships (toy cars, poker, underwear, sunglasses - to name a few) and to his present day romance with Elizabeth Hurley.
Shane Jacobson featured as Terry Jenner, Shane's close mentor. Terry saw the potential in Shane and wanted to steer him on the right path, for he felt Shane also had (negative) potential to throw his career away by living a carefree lifestyle - perhaps how Terry had done in the past.
The show delved into the scandals he's been involved in. So many scandals. In the intermission, we overheard an audience member in front of us say, "You forget his much he's done in his life. So much dodgy stuff to come." And she was so right!
There was the diuretics, sledging, match fixing, the explicit text messages to women, an affair with the British nurse, the shipment of baked beans to India...
It was the womanising that impacted on his marriage to Simone (played by Lisa McCune). The musical had a dig at how stupid she was for taking him back after the affairs and text messages.
The musical was hilarious - and so lyrically clever! Lots of references to cricket (a great slow-motion reenactment of The Ball of the Century) but equally as many references to Shane's personal life. My favourite was the scene when Shane and Simone met - the song was called Dancing with the Stars (Simone was a contestant on the show) and there was some clumsy dancing happening. The audience responded well - lots of laughter.
I also loved the addition of the Liz Hurley storyline - she was depicted as a ball breaker - showing Shane who is boss, and set the record straight on the surgery claims, singing "it's not surgery, it's love." Ha! There was a brilliant scene showing a recent kerfuffle Liz had with a journalist at an airport - telling her where to go - and in the musical, the journalist described being told to Fuck Off by Liz Hurley as the "highlight of her life."
The show was thought provoking as it focused a lot on Warne as the Spin King - not in the spin bowling sense, but the publicity spin. Spinning chairs were used as visual props - representing the dizzying amount of brands he's affiliated with as well as the need to be present in the media almost all of the time. Twitter has been a great way Shane Warne has maintained a presence - often sharing too much information with the world.
Shane Warne the brand is constantly being made over, and as the PR team cast sang, "we've got to keep him spinning or hell die." It did make me wonder how much Shane Warne thrives on being in the spotlight.
Eddie Perfect nails it, observing just how much Shane is present as a cultural icon - whether it's for his cricket, his many indiscretions on and off the field, or his lengthy list of cringeworthy moments. He's always reinventing himself so he takes to focus off the stupid things he's done for the world to remember him as a cricketing champion.
I remembered so much of the history detailed in Shane Warne the Musical - for Shane Warne was a big part of my life for a short time.
When I was a kid - 11-13 years old, I'd say, I had a crush on Shane Warne. It was back when he looked like this.
I think I'd seen him in a magazine one day and thought bleached blonde hair and lips full of zinc cream was pretty hot. Before
you Ian Healey could say "Bowl Shane", I had scrapbooks full of Shane Warne pictures, I'd written to Cricket Victoria for merchandise, bought Inside Edge magazine, collected a tin of cricket cards, read his biographies, toured the MCG and had posters of him modelling Just Jeans clothing plastered all over my bedroom walls. I was obsessed. And I didn't even like cricket. Still don't. It bores me. I don't understand it. But I'd watch it for Shane. I took some time off school once to watch the last test in Perth, just to see him looking hot on the pitch. What was I thinking?!
The pinnacle of my fandom was when I sent him and Simone a wedding present. It was a photo frame. A lovely wedding present. Except it had a picture of me in it. What?! I was 13. And I really really wanted him to that I was his biggest fan (despite not liking cricket). He wrote back!!!!!!!!!!!
I remember being SO EXCITED when that autographed note arrived. Dad laminated it and I was in awe for weeks.
I downplay the inappropriateness/baffling nature of my crush because it was before the text message scandal. I just thought he was a wholesome cricketer and faithful husband married to his Fosters promo girl sweetheart. While I have definitely moved on from this celebrity crush, I did enjoy reliving that period of fandom through watching Shane Warne the Musical.
Have you seen Shane Warne the Musical? What did you think?
Have you had a bizarre or inappropriate celebrity crush?