American Idiot Production Photos – Mark Dawson Photography
To celebrate it’s 10th anniversary and 15 years since the release of the infamous album, Green Day’s rock musical American Idiot returns to tour the UK. With music by Green Day, lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong and a book by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer, American Idiot opened on Broadway in 2010 and went on to win two Tony awards.
Using songs only and limited dialogue, American Idiot tells the story of three friends who have known each other since childhood, each one looking for a meaning in the world after the tragic events of 9/11.American Idiot The Musical is directed and choreographed by Racky Plews, with musical supervision by Richard Morris, design by Sara Perks, sound by Chris Whybrow and lighting by Tim Deiling.
Set to an impressive set design of graffiti walls and a TV screen that would appear replaying images of 9/11 and related media, we enter the world of Johnny, Tunny and Will as they all set out on discovering themselves in the bleak post 9/11 America. This production is a rebellious brash reality check, packed full of thought provoking songs from an album that epitomised my youth.
I have been wanting to see American Idiot for quite a while now, growing up with pop-punk and rock as the playlist to my youth (and adult life). This production exceeded all of my expectations and also gave me a nostalgic throwback for added measure. 9/11 was a moment that I remember vividly, I remember where I was, what I was doing and how I felt following on from the attack. This production is still relevant in today’s society, especially at a time in the UK where we are still brought conflicting news and propaganda from media and politics.
The cast in this touring production are incredible, bringing such ferocity to the stage with every performance. The choreography is bold, rebellious and commanding and the cast deliver the routines with raw passion. The costumes are bold and scream punk-rock, as we see ripped jeans, corsets, band T-shirts and chains. The band were also incredible as they played every Green Day song with energy and attitude, Robert Wicks (Keys/Violin), Chris George (Guitar), Nick Kent (Bass) and Charlie Maguire (Drums).
The female leads in this production were Whatsername played by Sam Lavery who delivered an authentic, strong and confident performance and Will’s girlfriend Heather played by Siobhan O’Driscoll who has beautiful vocals. A particular favourite song of the night for me was Letterbomb performed by Lavery and the other brilliant female cast members.
Tom Milner, Johnny, was a force of nature in this demanding leading role. He led the audience on his journey, giving us an honest and at times hard to watch insight into his demons and addictions. Milner’s tone of voice almost echoed Billie Joe as he mesmerised the audience with his vocals.
Joshua Dowen as Tunny and Samuel Pope as Will, completed the trio of friends and both oozed talent in their respective roles. A particular favourite performance of the evening was Wake Me Up When September Ends, where all three played acoustic guitar together offering an emotional, reflective moment in the show.
Luke Friend as St. Jimmy was a powerhouse of vocals as he raged throughout his performance. This was Friend’s professional theatre debut and what a debut it was, Friend’s presence on stage was undeniable.
This production saw an instant standing ovation from the Birmingham crowd which was fully well deserved and we were even treated to an encore of the Green Day classic, Good Riddance (Time of Your Life). It felt like the entire cast and band gave their all for every single minute of this show. American Idiot is a production that can adapt and evolve and I look forward to seeing the show again in the future, perhaps even with a gender swap of the main characters as Billie Joe himself recently discussed!
We say: “The cast in this ferocious vibrant touring production of American Idiot are incredible and were fully deserving of the standing ovation in Birmingham!”