21-25 June 2016
Reviewed by Jan Mellor
Have you ever been pleasantly surprised when seeing a show that you didn’t think you’d like – well American Idiot is one such show! I went to see American Idiot with my partner who is crazy about the band Green Day – a punk/rock band – whose music dominates the show – and so went thinking I would be very bored.
From the onset – a stage set with a TV showing media from the 9/11 terrorist attacks – blasting into “American Idiot” with brilliant stage set up, brash (and well-timed) dancing, great costumes and impeccable choreography – I knew this would be something different.
The story was around the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and how it impacts on three close friends (Johnny, Tunny and Will) who decide to ‘find’ themselves and seek true rebellion. Will is persuaded by his girlfriend to stay in their American town and settle down – which results in him becoming a father, Tunny decides to defend his country and joins the army and Johnny leaves his hometown and falls in love. Their ‘journeys’ are depicted via diary dates, the full song catalogue from Green Days 2004 “American Idiot” album, and an effective integration of loud harsh punk songs (“Your favourite son”, “Violence is the enemy”) and acoustic ballads (“I walk alone”, “Time to say I love you,” “Wake me up when September ends”), charismatically sang by the very talented Newton Faulkner and backed by a hauntingly beautiful violin and perfect backing vocals.
The story dramatically unfolds to show Will losing his girlfriend and child to another man, Tunny getting injured causing him to be paralysed and Johnny with the help of the ‘villain ’ Theo (with an amazing Mohican) being addicted to heroin. There was a great use of ‘double scenes’, live musicians, imaginative props, appropriate ‘underwear only’ scenes, an amazing ‘drugged up’ scene (Newton), typical foul language (some expletives) and interaction with the audience. The end of the ‘journey’ shows the three friends reunited, the whole of the cast and a (standing and ecstatic) audience singing “Time of your life” and me enjoying every second!
Overall, I thought the performance was excellent entertainment. The cast were great singers, dancers and actors – with exceptional performances from the main cast (Newton Faulkner, Cellen Chugg Jones and Steve Rushton) and the storyline was poignant and thought-provoking. The 2- hour show was a value for money masterpiece!
Brilliant! – As a non-Green Day fan this show is a must! Well done!
Tickets cost from £14.90 to £43.40 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
American Idiot is at the Liverpool Empire until 25 June 2016. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 8713017.
Liverpool Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 1JE | 0844 8713017