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American Idiot

“Raucous revival of the green day musical”

Written at a time when US politics seemed merely infuriating rather than numbingly awful, punk outfit Green Day’s American Idiot brimmed with angst and anger. That frustration has only grown deeper in the intervening years, but this remount of Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer’s subversive Broadway hit makes no effort to reframe the show for our current moment.

Instead, director Racky Plews revels in the timeless squalor, stupidity, and exuberance of adolescent rebellion, with dense nonverbal interactions implying the beats of a threadbare story of teenage dropouts searching for meaning in the aftermath of September 11th.

Serving as front man, Tom Milner alternately swaggers and staggers as wannabe rocker Johnny, wallowing in drugs and disappointment. Luke Friend throws a little Bobcat Goldthwait into his take on Johnny’s drug-guzzling alter ego St Jimmy, squealing and purring his way through the numbers, while Sam Lavery does what she can to bring some personality to a painfully underwritten part as love-interest Whatsername.

Designer Sara Perks provides an atmospheric set in the form of a crumbling suburban underworld of spray-painted concrete and rusty chain link fences. Perched overhead, a tight band smashes out an almost unbroken stream of inescapably catchy tunes with energy and precision. Meanwhile, the crisply-organised chaos of Plews’ choreography pulls from mosh pit posturing, juxtaposing whiplash head-banging, air guitar, and marching-band high kicks.

There’s no denying the production’s energy or musical quality, but like its protagonists, it can’t help but feel a little overwrought and directionless.

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Production Details
Production nameAmerican Idiot
VenueMayflower Theatre
StartsJanuary 22, 2019
EndsJanuary 26 2019, then touring until June
Running time2hrs 15mins
Book writerBillie Joe Armstrong, Michael Mayer
LyricistBillie Joe Armstrong
DirectorRacky Plews
Set designerSara Perks
Sound designerChris Whybrow
CastAlexandra Robinson, Glenn Adamson, Laura Marie Benson. Joshua Dowen, Luke Friend, Raquel Jones, Rory Maguire, Sam Lavery, Samuel Pope, Shekinah Mcfarlane, Siobhan O’Driscoll, Tom Milner
Company stage managerCharlotte Warner
Stage managerTara Claxton
ProducerPiu, Selladoor Worldwide
VerdictRaucous revival of Green Day’s thinly-plotted pop-punk musical
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Dave Fargnoli

Dave Fargnoli

Dave Fargnoli

Dave Fargnoli

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