American Idiot doesn’t seem to quite know where it stands. Not quite Rock Opera, not quite Musical Theatre.
The cast was exceptional, with standouts being Whatshername (Phoebe Panaaretos) & Heather (Ashleigh Taylor). The last minute inclusion of Ben Bennet as lead worked. His character was well played and his guitar playing was very well done.
The interaction of the band onstage was a great feature. The musicians coming and going as needed and playing off in the wings when other things were happening onstage. The fact that all the leading men (and women, on the nights Adalita and Sarah McLeod are there) also played guitar really added to the inclusion of the music. You had to feel sorry for the drummer, stuck in his perspex box all night.
As an audience member that wasn’t overly familiar with Green Day’s catalogue, the storyline was hard to follow at times. The inclusion of more dialog or a stronger sense of storytelling would’ve really added a deeper dimension to the show.
The character of St Jimmy is being played by 3 different rock stars on different nights – Sarah McLeod, Adalita & Phil Jamieson. Jamieson was the one on opening night.
Stage setting and multimedia really added to the show. iOta’s interlude on the screens was great. The show didn’t have an interval, which is unheard of, especially being 1.5 hours long.
Overall it was an enjoyable, if slightly confusing, night out. It was interesting to talk to some regular theatre goers to get their reaction. They were a bit mystified about the whole thing. It’s hard to know where this show fits.
The show isn’t for everyone, but as long as you know what you’re in for you should have fun with it.