Reviewed by Louise Watts
Green Day first formed in the mid 1980’s and have sold over 85 million records worldwide. American Idiot, the album was released in 2004 and won a Grammy award for the “Best Rock Album”. In 2010, American Idiot the musical was first performed on Broadway and has now become a very successful show celebrating it’s 10-year anniversary tour at the moment.
Tonight, myself and my sister went to see the musical at the Theatre Royal, Brighton. My sister is a huge Green Day fan and whilst I was less aware of their music, I knew some of the songs from the album, so we were both very much looking forward to it.
The musical revolves around 3 young lads each trying to make sense of the world and events in America, post the 9/11 terror attacks. The boys take different directions in their lives and the story follows them. It is clear to see that they have all chosen very different paths. There is a lot of sex, drugs, swearing and middle fingers going on from the very beginning of the show. The show comes with a recommendation of age 14+ to cover these topics.
From the moment the curtains opened, the show was loud, energetic and fast paced. The singing was fantastic and the dancing was slick and well-rehearsed. You could visibly see fans in the audience bobbing along and tapping their feet to the music. People were drawn into the atmosphere immediately.
There were many impressive scenes, but my personal favourite was the scene on the bus in the first half. I thought this was very cleverly choreographed and it worked brilliantly. The set was very realistic and really made you feel that you were there and the scene changes were subtle and quick.
The three lead characters were all played by reality TV stars and they were all excellent which reinforces my belief that they are a good thing as talent like theirs may have been missed without these opportunities. Tom Milner played Johnny, a very troubled boy who went completely off the rails with drugs. Having seen him in Waterloo Road before, it was a pleasure to see him in a completely different role and singing. He has an amazing voice and sang the songs perfectly. Luke Friend who played St Jimmy was equally incredible and it is hard to believe he is still only 22 years old and therefore has his whole career ahead of him. Leading lady Sam Lavery played Whatsername and was outstanding. That girl has an amazing voice and it is easy to see why she was cast in that role.
The first half was only around 45 minutes long and the complete show is only 2 hours with an interval. The age limit of 14+ I have to say in my opinion is too low. I think it should be 16+ at least! There were several families with teenage children who sadly left at the interval. I do not believe this is because they didn’t like the show, I believe it is because it was too raucous! There were several scenes that were simply not suitable for family viewing. There was also too much middle finger waving. I completely get the reason for it but felt it unnecessary in every dance to be waving it around!
The second half was as good as the first and the music from the very talented band along with the singing made the show the success it is. It felt slightly more disjointed than the first act but the characters and the storyline was built upon erratic lifestyles so it worked. There was one very emotive scene in the second half where there was heroin taking and a gun. I won’t give too much away but the end result was a standing ovation for the audience and an encore.
I have given my comments on the age range but I do not want that to detract from the fact that this was an incredible musical with outstanding singing and acting and for any Green Day fans is simply a must see musical. I would just recommend leaving the kids behind!
The theatre staff were polite and friendly as usual. There are several bars within the theatre selling drinks and snacks. Parking is easy in a multi storey car park nearby and access is also easy via public transport.
Ticket cost from £14.90 to £55.40 (plus £3.65 transaction fee).
Green Day’s American Idiot is at the Theatre Royal in Brighton from 16-20 April 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/brighton or call the box office on 0844 871 7650.
Theatre Royal, New Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1SD | 0844 871 7650