Come in Spinner: Warnie the Musical

Come in Spinner: Warnie the Musical

What an SM-ess I Am In.

It began as a joke.
While looking for material to write a full book musical, Eddie Perfect, the Melbourne based cabaret artist and musician pitched this up to his manager.
“What about Warnie the Musical?”
A few light bulbs went off.
“He sent me every book ever written about Warnie and I started to build a profile,” he said.
Eddie showcased an early draft of the musical at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in 2007 and got producers across Australia appealing for the rights.

So what makes the cricket superstar and scandal prone celebrity ripe for a musical?
“There is much to love and hate about Shane Warne. That’s what makes him so dynamic. Unlike Americans, Australians like their heroes a bit flawed,” he said.
“It is a great vehicle about sport and the media’s involvement in sport. It’s about the notion of celebrity and whether there is any truth in the notion that you can cheat on your wife and still love her.”
Shane Warne became the highest test match wicket taker of all time and also almost scored a century.
Likewise Eddie Perfect is aiming to be good at everything. He has written the words and lyrics, composed the music and is playing the lead role. He does have impressive credentials. Eddie is a graduate of the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and also completed the music theatre course at WAAPA in 2001. In recent years he’s gained fans in Australia, New Zealand and the UK for his unique brand of cabaret musical comedy.

Helping Eddie develop the musical is Casey Bennetto, the writer of the outrageously successful Keating the Musical, and also Neil Armfield from Company B. Both are giving him the outside eyes needed to develop the show.
Warnie is a bigger musical than Keating. There are ten in the cast and a four-piece band. The musical style is varied.
“My favourite song is called My name is John. It is sung by an Indian man in a Sri Lankan casino in Columbo. It is about the infamous moment that Shane was given $5000 as a gift by a bookmaker and covered it up. I am recreating this as a big Bollywood number,” he said.
“In another moment Shane is in a nightmare ballet. He is given a fluid tablet and slips into a deep sleep. He has a nightmare that he is in a strange hotel room that somehow has a bed filled with women. A room service waitress comes in and strips down to reveal herself as Shane’s wife Simone. She says he will never captain Australia,” he said. “He is a comforted by a giant cigarette which he dances with until his hair falls out.”
It has the outrageous flavour of the Jerry Spinger the Opera. As it happens, Eddie met the composer of Jerry Spinger while at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Richard Cole inspired him to consider a popular cultural figure as the subject matter for a musical.

“We had a chat about the traditional use of a cadence at the end of a song phrase. It gives the audience a chance to clap – but Richard thinks this is the death of music drama. In Jerry Spinger all the songs flow into each other,” he said. “I disagree. I am giving my audiences applause points.”

Whether the man himself … Shane Warne that is … will be in the audience remains unclear. The former Australian cricketer has been invited to the show, but as it is an unauthorised production, his attendance is not guaranteed.
At the time of this interview, lawyers for the producers of the musical were going through every line of the script with a fine tooth comb to check for any legal problems.
Eddie is deep into training for the role.
“I’ve done a bit of bowling in my time. I can’t get much spin off the pitch. It is easier to get Shane Warne to sing than for me to get any spin,” he said.
Lucky Eddie is the writer.
“In the show I don’t have to land a ball on the pitch.”

Warnie the Musical is touring Australia.

David Spicer

 

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