CABARET FESTIVAL – Shane Warne the Musical – Her Majesty’s – 4K

SMA Kryztoff banner May 13 100dpi2013 Cab LogoBy Peter Maddern

You have to admire Eddie Perfect for taking on a subject like Shane Warne – especially in this the oddest of contexts – a musical. The somewhat larger than life figure has always been grist for the media’s wheel, ever since ‘the ball of the century’ and, of course, it has to be said Shane himself has never failed in the 20 years since to dish up everything they could ever have wanted.

Perfect shies away from none of it and presents a somewhat warts and all perspective on the man, leaving his audience free to pick and choose those elements that tend to their view of the man or to sit back and reflect on a deeply flawed genius, a man who simply exists in a parallel universe to all others – fellow players as well as the punters.

It has to be said Shane Warne – The Musical is a somewhat bizarre production that at times teeters on the rail above destruction but at other times reaches great comic heights. Three numbers stand out being My Name Is John, recalling the moment Warne met with John the Indian bookmaker (played delightfully by Jolyon James), then after the break Donna Wright, where Amy Lehpamer squeezes every once out of her portrayal of the English nurse who became the subject of Warne’s texting attentions and, finally, Christie Whelan Browne delivers her Elizabeth Hurley. It has to be said, it was only then that of all the characters we saw, did Warnie seem most likely to have found his soul mate.

There is a certain menace about Eddie Perfect’s performances, songs and music where his cutting wit rips open human façades but he survives through sheer panache. There were times, especially in the first half, where one wondered whether the whole thing was just an elaborate send up of this entertainment genre, yet by the end he had managed more than deftly to balance that scythe with sentiment and satire.

As Warne himself, he is just the fit. But amongst his cast he is no loner. Shane Jacobson captures the equally flawed Terry Jenner and Lisa McCune is stunning as the unsuspecting and incredulous Simone. While the set is just remarkably basic, Geoff Cobham’s lighting is also a highlight delivering mood and magic from just one block of lights behind the stage.

Great fun and for sports fans who would normally be horrified at the prospect of being seen at the theatre, go on, take the punt and ready yourself for two hours of enjoyment that the giggle box can never match.

Kryztoff Rating  4K

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