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Review: American Idiot – the Musical at London Arts Theatre

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Have The Time Of Your Life

American Idiot – the Musical
London Arts Theatre
Extended until 22nd November 2015

Photo: Darren Bell
Green Day are one of the most popular bands of its type since they formed in 1986. They are popular enough to play 2 nights in Milton Keynes in front of 130 000.  Their music resonated with Generation X as they sought to make sense of the world. It was only going to be a matter of time before their music found its way into that latest stage trend: the jukebox musical.

Photo: Darren Bell
With a book by Green Day’s front man Billie Joe Armstrong and original director Michael Mayer, American Idiot is different to the usual jukebox musicals. With its dialogue often limited to stating the date, this show relies more heavily of the song’s lyrics to tell the story. There is no cut and shunting in order to get the story to fit the songs here. The overall fell is much more of a rock opera than a traditional musical. The single act without an interval increases that feel. The fact that it was won 5 awards of which one was for the cast recording shows that it is both popular and features a strong soundtrack.

Photo: Darren Bell
Set in Jingletown, USA, the show begins with news footage of 9/11 before kicking straight into the memorable hit American Idiot. The split level stage frequently features both a lead guitarist (Tommaso Varvello) and a bass player (Brock Eddows), which adds to the authenticity of the piece, as the ensemble dance and sing without missing a note. The story then follows the paths taken by 3 friends. Will (Steve Rushton) stays in Jingletown to look after his pregnant girlfriend Heather (Natasha J Barnes). Tunny (Alexis Gerred) and Johnny (Aaron Sidwell) decide to leave town in order to seek a new future. Tunny is quickly sucked in by a tv ad for the army and enlists. Johnny wonders the big city meeting up with a drug dealer known as St Jimmy and a girl called “Whatsername” (Amelia Lily).

Photo: Darren Bell
Though the soundtrack the lives of the three friends are explored. Thrown in with the explicit lyrics of the American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown albums, from which the soundtrack is generated, are hard drugs use, violence and sexually explicated scenes. This is not a show to take the more sensitive members of your family to.

Photo: Darren Bell
The outfits are frequently stunning. The point in which Extraordinary Girl’s (Raquel Jones) nurse outfit suddenly changes into a lit up angel was particularly impressive. Through Racky Plews direction the show flows well into a kinetically charged assault on the senses. Great dance sequences pepper throughout the show despite the heat in the intimate confines of the Arts Theatre. The band, under musical director Mark Crossland, are very tight and the drumming by Alex Marchisone can rival Tré Cool.

Photo: Darren Bell
The show will hit the right note for the fans of Green Day.

This review was written by Stephen Oliver  the North East Theatre Guide Preview from Jowheretogo PR ( Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Jowheretogo on Facebook

Read the original North East Theatre Guide preview here: Preview Link

Photo: Darren Bell
On The Web:

Facebook:  American Idiot UK
Instagram:  ukamericanidiot


American Idiot – The Musical at Londons’s Arts Theatre, Great Newport Street, London, WC2H 7JB
Performances:  Tuesday – Friday at 8.00pm
Saturday – 2.30pm & 8.00pm
Sunday – 3.00pm & 6.00pm

Photo: Darren Bell
Running time:   90 minutes (no interval)
Ticket Prices:  £15.00 – £65.00 (all seats £25.00 during previews)
Groups 20+    £25.00
Groups 10+    £32.50
Groups of 6   £35.00
* All group rates valid Tues – Fri & Sunday
Main Booking Line:                 020 78368463
Group Booking Line:               020 7836 8463
Access Booking Line:             020 7836 8463

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