January 28, 2009

Australian cricket

Warne's musical pitches up new audience

Jamie Alter

Shane Warne has helped revive the art of leg spin, sell millions of copies of News of the World and make ‘blond and overweight’ a combination irresistible to women. Now he is luring men – the beer-drinking, sports-loving kind – to Melbourne theatres through the smash hit musical based on his life.

Eddie Perfect, the actor playing Warne in ‘Shane Warne – The Musical’, says Warne is someone who has fascinated Australia, and come to typify the best and worst of the country. "We're getting guys dragging their girlfriends to the theatre, which is the opposite of how it usually works," Perfect told AFP. "You see young blokes making their way to their seats carrying armfuls of beers for their mates, just like they do at the cricket.”

Perfect said the new faces in the audience had upset some in the traditional group but it was for the best. “It's like Reformation theatre when people were buying oranges to throw at the actors - why shouldn't they have fun?"

There have been suggestions of taking the production to London and even India and Perfect is keen to go international. He said not much would have to be changed in the current musical to suit the English audience since Warne was as popular in England as he was in Australia. But the chance to play in India excited him. "It'd be a blast. We could turn every number into a huge Bollywood production."

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Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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