Shane Warne the Musical is back, tweaked and primped – sort of like the post-Hurley Warney himself. Writer Eddie Perfect’s original show was an award-winning hit, and the updated version boasts direction from Simon Philips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert) and a 24 piece orchestral arrangement by Iain Grandage (Tim Minchin Vs The Orchestra). Featuring an updated score with brand new songs, it’s in Melbourne for only two nights.
Eddie, it’s been over four years since the last outing for the musical. Have you made huge script revisions?
Yeah, we’ve got a new beginning, a new ending, and a new structure. We’ve added seven years of life post the show. We always ended it when Shane retired in 2007 and now we’re going right up to 2013.
There are about six new songs, some of which are as new as yesterday and one coming tomorrow. So it’s really different and of course the orchestra is a big difference.
Did you have to spend time with Shane to develop the character?
No, everything happens independently of him. The first show happened independently of Shane and I’m kind of paranoid about getting the subject involved because, look, to make a biographical piece interesting and credible and have people enjoy it as a fair, well rounded, balanced piece you need to make it warts and all.
There’s a lot of love in the show, it comes from a place of love. I’m a big opponent of the knee-jerk moral outrage that we have in Australia. We can be very judgmental and I think that the sort of celebrity culture preys upon that instant sort of judgment about people’s wrongdoings. That’s not to excuse Shane about any of the decisions that he’s made, but what I wanted to do was try and get inside the man, why would he have made these decisions and what did they cost him? To try and humanise him.
This isn’t a love letter to Shane, nor is it two-and-a-half hours of tearing Shane down. It’s just about looking at a life of an Australian who has had an impact on our culture – that’s undeniable, whether you like Shane or not. He’s divisive and he’s stuck in Australia’s popular culture. I’d like to know why? Why him and not another cricketer that’s captured our imagination? If he was really straight and narrow and good would he have gotten as much attention? Is it partly because Australians love a flawed hero a little bit? I don’t know, but you know it’s about a wonderful interesting, turbulent life and to try to get someone to see what life might be like on the inside for someone like Shane.
A lot of the satire is pointed at the audience. Why are we so obsessed with sport? Why are we so obsessed with sporting celebrities? Why are we so judgmental? Where does our information come from and why are we outraged about the actions of one man who really at the end of the day, never killed anyone, didn’t commit any crime. He just plays cricket…
And likes women.
… and likes women. There are a lot more important things to get worked up about in life. You know, disease, poverty, famine, healthcare you know the sorts of things that actually impact on people’s – but instead we engage in this sort of salacious world. So I’m interested in that sort of relationship and satirising that, that’s a lot of fun.