Publicity Designer: Ed Bankes

As members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Green Day are one of the biggest bands of the last twenty years. Their fame rocketed in 2004 with the release of the multi-platinum album American Idiot. The musical of the same name as had similar success winning two Tony Awards and a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.

American Idiot is the story of three friends who feel left behind and let down by society as they struggle to find meaning in a post 9/11 world. The themes resonated with the teens in the first decade of the noughties. The decision of Brickhouse Theatre to perform this show could not be better timed with the themes and feelings once again significant in the post-truth era of Trump.

Despite such promising content, the show, particularly the first act, did not deliver. Due to issues with microphones and most of the voices not being strong enough to contend with a live band, large parts of the show were inaudible. This was a huge failing. As there was little to no dialogue between the songs, any narrative became lost due to the inability to hear most of the lyrics. There were even points one could only tell that someone was singing by their lips moving.

“If you are looking for a polished musical perhaps this is not for you”

The band, however, was excellent. They successfully re-created a concert atmosphere. One the other hand, the singing, when it was audible, was often below average. Granted, great singing is not a requirement of punk music, but there were points when the singing was out of tune or harmonies in the chorus clashed.

Furthermore, the chorus’s dancing needs work; they were noticeably out of time throughout the performance. Often this was not an issue due to the chaos-filled nature of the piece. However, at moments where the choreography was the focus, their lack of unity and timing was exposed.

A notable occasion of jarring choreography was the drill scene. The chorus was supposed to embody a military unit, with all the regimental order that goes with it. This, like other set pieces, were well designed by choreographer Charlotte McDonald, however the execution was lacking. While some mistakes with timing can be overlooked, especially in am-dram, there were some indefensible mistakes which should have been avoided.

The first act felt like a bad dress rehearsal of a school play. It was not an enjoyable experience and one would have been forgiven for leaving. However, the second act really picked up.

From the start of the second act, there was more energy, perhaps the cast had hit their stride and become more confident. The last three songs were performed well. The highlight of the night was the encore of Good Riddance.

Despite being a rock opera, the show was at its best when stripped back. The stand-out numbers were when Johnny (played by Alex Hancock) appeared on stage alone with his guitar singing ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ and ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’.

A special mention needs to go to Amber Reeves Pigott, definitely someone to watch, who plays Whatsername. Her powerful voice was stunning and fully able to contend with the band.


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Mountain View

Review: Much improv about nothing

With some work and remedy of technical issues, there is potential in this show. If you are a lover of Green Day and want to hear the songs performed then maybe it is worth catching the show. However, if you are looking for a polished musical perhaps this is not for you.

American Idiot will run at Robinson College Auditorium until Saturday, 18th November 2017

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