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Green Day's American Idiot at The King's Theatre, Glasgow

Published by: Cameron Lowe on 2nd Jun 2016 | View all blogs by Cameron Lowe

The King’s Theatre in Glasgow offers an introduction to a rare musical beast; the “Punk Rock Opera” Green Day’s American Idiot.  This truly is a ‘beast’ of a show in every aspect; powerful, wild, (at times) ugly but also AWESOME!

Green Day’s 2004 release of the album “American Idiot” saw the modern punk rock band take a new direction.  It wasn’t originally intended that the album should convert to stage; more that it emulate a more thoughtfully developed album like the great rock operas ‘Quadrophenia’, ‘Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’ or even ‘Sgt. Pepper’.  In creating their Punk Rock Opera they were able to throw away their unwritten “rule book” and approach song writing from a whole new direction – a concept album.  What was written may well have started as a ‘concept', but what emerged on stage was REAL – very real, deep and (sometimes) purposely repellent.

Brit singer / songwriter, Newton Faulkner, leads the cast as Johnny (or Jesus of Suburbia) on a year-long journey against the backdrop of reality for the lower middle classes of America following the 9/11 terror attacks.  Johnny’s experience forms the basis of social comment on a nation which was fighting a culture war to determine its own morality while desperately trying to put a face on faceless enemies overseas.  Faulkner’s image, presence and voice are perfect in this role – I found his presentation of the ballads particularly appealing and a great contrast to heavier sections of the score.  Kudos to him for playing a lead role largely in his underpants, too!

Johnny is joined by two competing characters.  “Whatshername” (beautifully voiced by X-factor’s Amelia Lily) represents ‘love’ while “St. Jimmy” (played with suitably manic fervour and equally powerful vocals by understudy Llandyll Gove) represents ‘rage’ – Johnny’s inner demon.  Both characters are a massive influence on Johnny’s actions and lead to a dramatic downward spiral.

The supporting cast are small but fantastically talented.  Each gets a chance to shine in this dark dystopian world.  The band clearly play a strong role on stage and Steve Rushton (as Johnny’s mate, Will) plays a double role as guitar #2 – typical of this multi-talented cast he sings, dances, acts and play’s some serious licks!

The choreography from Director / Choreographer, Rocky Plews, is also a major player in the show as the story unfolds almost like a ballet.  Being a rock musical, Billy Joe Armstrong’s lyrics can sometimes be overtaken by drums and guitar, so the choreography often plays a key role in outlining the lyrical intent.  The exciting (and often comedic) movement is delivered with verve by the energetic cast.

I highly recommend you see this show!  It’s not for the faint hearted – it’s deep, dark, thought provoking, lyrically colourful (they swear a lot) and sexually provocative … but this serves to deliver Green Day’s original message in a powerful format that is the perfect fit for your first ever Punk Rock Opera!

 

American Idiot

King’s Theatre Glasgow

Tue 31 May – Sat 4 June 2016

Tue, Wed, Thu evenings 7.30pm

Fri 5pm and 8.30pm

Sat 4pm and 8pm

Box Office 0844 871 7648 (bkg fee) Calls cost 7p per min plus your phone company’s access charge

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow (bkg fee)

 

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